Cover of: Darkest Heart by Brenda Joyce
An edition of The Darkest Heart (1989)

Darkest Heart

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October 28, 2022 | History
An edition of The Darkest Heart (1989)

Darkest Heart

  • 4.75 ·
  • 4 Ratings
  • 24 Want to read
  • 3 Currently reading
  • 12 Have read
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Previews available in: English

She was called the bell of the Southwest

Beautiful 18 year old Candice Carter enjoyed the attentions of every eligible man in the New Mexico Territory, until her reckless heart led her to near death in the desert. But rescue came from a savage...Jack Savage, the 24 year old hard-muscled Indian warrior who both terrified and fascinated her. Suddenly she was at the mercy of an arrogant halfbreed whose forbidden passion she dared not admit she wanted to taste.

He was called Savage

From the moment he saw her, Jack branded Candice his woman. No matter that he had chosen the Indian matter that he could hang for touching her. nothing could stop him from making her his reluctant bride. Vowing to teach her every sensual pleasure, he set out to tame the fiery spirit of the blond beauty who had stolen his soul. But as war raged between the white man and the Apache, he found himself torn between duty to his people and a forbidden love he could not resist and could not live without.

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Edition Availability
Cover of: The Darkest Heart
The Darkest Heart
December 1, 1998, Dell
in English
Cover of: Darkest Heart
Darkest Heart
November 2, 1989, Dell
in English

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Book Details

First Sentence

"She knew she was dying."

Edition Notes

The Darkest Heart is a prequel of sorts for Joyce's great Bragg Saga:

Innocent Fire, June 1988 (Derek Bragg and Miranda)
Firestorm, November (1988 Storm Bragg and Brett)
Violet Fire, May 1989 (Rathe Bragg and Grace)
Dark Fires, June 1991 (Nicholas Bragg and Jane)
The Fires of Paradise, April 1992 (Lucy Bragg and Shoz) - related to The Darkest Heart
Scandalous Love, November 1992 (Nicole Bragg Shelton and Hadrian)
Secrets, April 1993, 7th in the Bragg saga and 1st in the Delanza Series, (Regina Bragg Shelton and Slade Delanza)

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
Library Thing

Work Description


… every Apache man, wherever found, should be killed on sight and the women and children sold into slavery.
—COLONEL BAYLOR, Confederate Governor of the Arizona Territory of President Jefferson Davis

The men [Apaches and Navajos] are to be slain where found. The women and children are to be taken prisoner, but, of course, they are not to be killed.
—Standing orders of General Carleton to all men under his command during the “Slaughtering Sixties”

*When I was young, I walked all over this country and saw no people other than Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people who had come to take it. How is it?
Why is it the Apaches want to die—that they carry their lives in their fingernails? They roam over the hills and plains and want the heavens to fall on them. The Apaches were once a great nation; they are now but a few … many have died in battle … Tell me, if the Virgin Mary has walked throughout all the land, why has she never entered the lodge of the Apache?*
—COCHISE, September 1871, shortly before his final surrender to President Grant’s personal representative

Cochise surrendered in October 1871. He died three years later.
The events of February 1861 as I have recounted them are accurate within the bounds of historical controversy. The army denied, up until the turn of the century—when the issue became irrelevant—that Lieutenant Bascom flew a white flag and betrayed Cochise purposefully. Those fate-filled days of February, referred to by some historians as Bascom’s Folly and considered by those same historians to have directly triggered Cochise’s war with the white man, did begin with the kidnapping of the son of a Sonoita rancher’s common-law wife. Possibly the boy was fathered by a Coyotero, possibly by a man from a previous marraige. The rancher accused Cochise of the kidnapping, and later it was found that the Coyoteros did indeed kidnap the boy, who later gained fame as the Apache scout Mickey Free.
The cast of characters who are real personages are as follows: Pete Kitchen, William S. Oury, William Buckley, Wallace, Culver, and Welsh, Lieutenant Bascom, Geronimo, Nahilzay, Cochise’s family, and Cochise.
The fate of the rancher whom I called Warden was pure fiction, as was the fate of Lieutenant Morris, who was based on the actual lieutenant Moore. Moore brought reinforcements from Fort Breckenridge and finally ordered the hangings of the six Apaches. All the events of those days in February are as accurate as possible, based on the problem of deciding between conflicting versions of historians. It is possible Bascom did not fly a white flag. However, Cochise was at peace with the whites using Apache Pass—in fact, the Chiricahua supplied the Butterfield Station with wood. Some historians have written that Cochise was at peace only with the Butterfield Overland Mail and warred on other whites. I found more evidence to show him as I have.
A few minor points might be inaccurate. Some accounts states that Cochise and five braves greeted Bascom, not Cochise and his relatives, wife, and son. One account held that Cochise had six prisoners, not three, and the reason six Apaches were hanged was in direct retaliation for finding the six (not three) mutilated corpses.
For ten years Cochise and his warriors brought devastation upon the settlers and troops of the New Mexico Territory. Other tribes, led by other chiefs, fought for their freedom as well. But it was a losing battle. The Apaches were being exterminated slowly but surely, and in the process of hit-and-run warfare, they were also starving. After Cochise crushingly defeated the army’s best column of Indian fighters, led by Lieutenant Howard Cushing, who was also killed in the attack, the army decided upon a policy of conciliation. President Grant’s personal representative was sent to negotiate a peace with Cochise, who met with him and accepted the terms. The Chiricahua were promised that they could stay in their own land, but several months after the peace they were removed to Tularosa, New Mexico. They later fled back into their own mountains.
While General George Crook began his vicious, unrelenting, and eventually successful campaign against the Tonto Apaches, General O. O. Howard and the famous frontiersman and ex-scout, Captain Tom Jeffords (who was also Cochise’s blood brother) negotiated another surrender from him. This time the Chiricahua got most of the land that was theirs as their reservation, and Jeffords was their agent.
But all the government’s promises did not materialize. The schools, hospitals, trading posts, supplies, and food never appeared. What food did come was the wrong kind, such as wheat, with which the Apaches were unfamiliar and did not know how to cook. Game was scarce, the Apaches were starving. Young braves resorted more and more to whiskey, and under its influence even continued to raid south. When two American whiskey peddlers were killed on the reservation, Congress took action, Jeffords was removed as the Indian agent, and the government prepared to remove the Chiricahuas to the swampland of the San Carlos reservation.
Cochise was dead. His son, Tahzay, and several other headmen were in favor of submission. Geronimo, Juh, and Nolgee fled with their followers south to the Sierra Madres. About 325 remaining Chiricahuas were moved to San Carlos.
Geronimo and other renegades fought viciously and brutally for another ten years. In April 1886, the last renegades, including Geronimo, were captured and surrendered at Fort Bowie in Apache Pass. They were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida.
There they were forgotten for years. Eventually they were moved to Alabama, then Oklahoma, and finally some 250 survivors were allowed to return to the Mescalero reservation in New Mexico. They were all that remained of what was originally a population of close to fifteen hundred. The government’s policy of extermination had almost been fulfilled.
I would like to add a final note. After I had written the first draft of this novel and was doing further research on the Apaches, I stumbled across an article at the Arizona Historical Society, written by Professor R. A. Mulligan of the University of Arizona. He states that just prior to the events of February 1861, there were three Chiricahua chiefs; Cochise, Esconolea, and a man named Jack.…

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