Based on one of the most significant periods in Frank Waters’s own life, Pike’s Peak is perhaps the most complete expression of all the archetypal themes he explored in both fiction and nonfiction.
In The Dust within the Rock, the third book in the Pike’s Peak saga, an aging Joseph Rogier clings to his vision of finding gold in the great mountain and his grandson Marsh comes of age in the Rogier household. It is the early part of the twentieth century, in Colorado Springs, and the schoolhouse, the newsstand, the railroad, the mines, all become part of the younger man’s emergence into adulthood and self-discovery.
Waters’s powerful and intuitive style transforms the tale into a mythic journey, a search for meaning played out in the drama of everyday living on the vast American frontier.
Pike’s Peak (1971) is composed of three condensed novels: The Wild Earth’s Nobility, Below Grass Roots, and The Dust within the Rock. Some years after its publication, an interviewer asked Frank Waters whether it was autobiographical. “Yes,” he replied, “and no.”