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Last Train from Cuernavaca Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Last Train From Cuernavaca is an historical novel that lives up to both words.  It is a gripping story that takes us deep into tumultuous years of Mexican history that few Americans know about. We need more books like this."  --Thomas Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee 

"To read Lucia St. Clair Robson is to learn while being thoroughly entertained.  Last Train From Cuernavaca puts us through the tragic violence and political treachery of the Mexican Revolution and its consequences so intimately that we feel hunger, lust, thirst, grief and saddlesores, and admire anew the awesome durability and courage of the people of Mexico -- especially the women."
--James Alexander Thom, New York Times bestselling author of Follow the River

“Exciting and lyrically written, Last Train from Cuernavaca by Lucia St. Clair Robson brings the past to fascinating, fire-breathing life.  As the Mexican revolution sweeps into Cuernavaca, two young women – English and Mexican – are hurled into a high-stakes adventure that will help determine the nation’s future.  Add rich characters, unforgettable scenes of bravery, and two beautiful love stories, and you’ll know why no one writes historical fiction better than Robson.”  --Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies

“Lucia St. Clair Robson casts spells with words that pluck us from our armchairs and plop us instantly into the place and time of her choice.  In her hands, the characters she spun from whole cloth breathe and speak and sweat with the force of those who lived and who live again here as never before.  Last Train From Cuernavaca proves once again that Robson is an American treasure.”  --Loren D Estleman, Five-time Spur Award-winning author of The Branch and the Scaffold

About the Author

LUCIA ST. CLAIR ROBSON was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida.  She has lived in Japan and Arizona, and served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela.  She has written seven novels, including The Tokaido Road, Fearless, and Ride the Wind, which won the Golden Spur Award.  Robson lives near Annapolis, Maryland. 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765313359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765313355
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Along with my library degree I learned one of life's great truths: you don't have to know all the answers, you just have to know where to find them. As a public librarian in Maryland I gave book-related programs in the local schools. While gathering material for the talks, I ran across the story of Cynthia Ann Parker's life with the Comanches. I told the kids that this was a more fascinating story than anyone could make up.

Shortly after that I went to a science fiction convention and met Brian Daley, author of the Han Solo books. I mentioned Cynthia Ann's story to Brian and his editor who referred me to Pamela Strickler of Ballantine Books. She advised me to, "Write the best story you can, from the heart, to please yourself." In 1982, Ballantine published Ride the Wind, which made the New York Times best sellers list. It also won the Western Writers of America's Spur Award for Best Historical Novel of the year. Now in its 27th printing, WIND was included in the top 100 westerns of the 20th century, and has garnered more than 100 5-star reviews in Amazon.

I've written eight other historical novels that feature people and times seldom mentioned in history texts. I got a kick out of Kirkus Reviews' take on my characters, "...Robson's phosphorescently magnificent gallery of forgotten women whom she's dug up God knows where."

In order of their appearance, the titles are: RIDE THE WIND, WALK IN MY SOUL, LIGHT A DISTANT FIRE, TOKAIDO ROAD, MARY'S LAND, FEARLESS, GHOST WARRIOR, SHADOW PATRIOTS, and LAST TRAIN FROM CUERNAVACA. In June of 2011 Western Writers of America awarded LAST TRAIN FROM CUERNAVACA their Spur award for best long novel of 2010.

A historical novelist must do more than list which generals fought where and when. She tries to re-create the society in which people lived, and she has to make it so vivid that readers can feel as though they're living there too.

I no longer collect a paycheck as a librarian, but my library training helps me find out what people wore, what jokes they told, how they insulted each other, what they ate, how they amused themselves, what diseases laid them low and how they tried to cure them.

As a writer of historical fiction, it's my job to create a plausible reality in a time long gone. A descendant of one of my characters once asked me where I got the stories I told in my book about her family. I told her I had either read them or made them up. She said I couldn't have because those were stories only the family knew. I blamed it on coincidence, but sometimes I do believe that novelists can "predict" the past.

I worry about being mis-marketed as a romance writer. I wonder if those who want happily-ever-after stories will be put off by the grit and gore in mine. I fear that readers who're looking for historical fiction won't pick the books up. Love is a vital part of every period of history and I always include it in my stories. However, it is not the focus.

When I became a librarian in 1975 I could not have imagined I would write even one npovel, much less nine. The internet did not exist then, so I could not have known that one day people from all over the world would get in touch with me. My job is to re-create how other people lived, and yet I could not have imagined the way my own life would unfold. I find it hard to believe that the three following quotes are about my words.

Historian and novelist thomas Fleming wrote about Last Train from Cuernavaca: "A gripping story that takes us deep into the tumultuous years of Mexican history. We need more books like this."

"Shadow Patriots, a Novel of the Revolution" -- From Kirkus Reviews "Few novelists working now have a better grasp of early American history than Robson ...Wholly believable, confidently realized, attention-holding historical fiction."

In 2011 True West Magazine named me Best Living Fiction Writer- "With her greatest achievement to date, 2010's Last Train from Cuernavaca... Lucia St. Clair Robson once again proves a master in prose, descriuption, character development and authenticity via her diligent research. Look for more from this powerful writer."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tara Chevrestt VINE VOICE on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I learned alot about the Mexican Revolution throughout the reading of this novel tho it did get a bit confusing at times. There are at least two different groups of revolutionary farmers, a group of federales, a group of renegade federales, and then some bandits thrown in here and there and after a while, I couldn't tell who was killing, looting and raping who. After a while, I started to feel every single group was in the wrong, but I did like Angela aka Angel, a woman that dons a pair of pants and a sombrero and runs with Zapata's army to exact revenge on the federal soldiers that looted her casa and captured her mother.

The problem is most of the novel, a good three fourths is about Grace, not Angel. Grace is an piano playing English hotel owner who has adopted Mexico as her country and she falls in love with Rico, a soldier. I didn't find her near as interesting as Angel and unfortunately she monopolizes almost the entire story, her and Rico. I found Angel's romance with Antonio as they ride the country blowing up trains WAY more fascinating and felt they warranted a lot more ink than they got. I also would have liked more character developement on Angel.

The last half of the novel becomes a wild goose chase between Rico and Grace as one miscommunication after another occurs.

There is all too brief part in which a woman named La Gata shows up. She is a widow leading her own group of revolutionary widows turned combatants and I was disappointed that there was not more of her as well.

Had this novel been about Angela (with more appearances of La Gata), not Grace and Rico, I would probably love it. As it is tho, I can't say I am blown away. It's not a bad book, just not what I was hoping for
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D.B. Jackson on July 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last Train is an excellent example of Lucia St. Clair Robson's literary skills. The story is history, adventure, romance and page-turning excitement that makes it hard to put down. The characters and the story line are perfect. I found myself urging the author not to let anything bad happen to Angela and Antonio! Read this one! It's great.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Billy Ray Chitwood on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always with Lucia St Clair Robson's books I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end. Anyone who loves Mexico - or has an interest in it's history - will love this book. She weaves a story, history and people into a rich tapestry that brings it all to life in stunning color. I would love to see it in a movie. A wonderful read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George Aubrey VINE VOICE on January 20, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the honor and pleasure of becoming a friend of the author last summer. I have just now taken a break from my own writing to read others' works. Lucia is an amazing writer who weaves together a story like a fine Persian rug, luxuriant, rich and vibrant. Her dual protangonists are well developed, allowing the reader to glimpse inside their hearts and dreams and fears. Her secondary characters are interesting and add to the story considerably. Her style and pacing are superb. Her prose is crisp and descriptive. The gradual quickening of the plot and the pulse of the characters leads toward the climatic finish of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have a second book bought to read soon.

Stephen L. Turner
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Vinnola on May 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was so good I stayed up late to read it. The characters were inviting and I related to them all. Well researched and well done! Great read! Make sure you put it at the TOP of your Summer reading list!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brown on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
" one writes historical fiction better than Robinson."
This statement was on the cover. It is by Gayla Linds, New York Times best selling author.
Rest assured I won't be reading any of her books.
This is not good writing and there is not a lot of History that will be learned from reading it.
Maybe I was completely unimpressed by this book because I had just finished re-reading "Under The Volcano" by Malcom Lowry, who is a brilliant writer.
The one thing that I did learn from this book was never to trust kudos from a New York Times "Best selling author."
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mick McAllister on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
True to form, Robson delivers a lesson in history framed by a good story and a foundation of unlikely fact. It would be easy to dismiss Lieutenant Angel as a romanticized fiction; she's not, and her most astonishing exploits are, it turns out, based on the accomplishments of a real woman. Based on memoirs of the historic figures replaced here with Grace Knight and Angela Sanchez, Last Train gives us a sweeping account of the final days of the Zapata resistance and the sordid beginnings of modern-day Mexico. As the novel progresses, we watch Grace and her lover, Federal officer and upper-class scion Frederico Martin while they evolve from supporters of the "civilizing" necessities embodied in Madero and the government to Zapatistas, their story woven into the not so much evolving and unfolding story of the female officer who terrorized Morelos after watching her community massacred by government soldiers. The story moves fast, with romance, violence, and humor.

Robson's readers will recognize Lozen (Shadow Warrior) as Angela's spiritual ancestor, but the character is fully independent as well. Last Train is not as compelling a read as Robson's best work, but it is a rich and enjoyable way to taste a moment of Latin American history we all can profit from.
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