As the story of the pioneers of any land becomes legend, many details fall away. Who were the women behind the men and what happened to them? What was their contribution to the creation of a country? <b>Ines of My Soul</b>, the tale of Chile's conquest by the Spanish in the 1500s, is international best-selling author Isabel Allende's way of answering that question. As told in flashback by a courageous Spanish seamstress who becomes the mother of the land, <b>Ines of My Soul</b> dramatically recreates the adventure, romance and achievement of an indomitable woman in the untamed wilderness of South America.

When Ines Surez's good-for-nothing husband disappears in the New World, she sets out to find him, freeing herself from the repressive environment of Spain. Ines' adventures begin during the long sea journey to the Americas. Her keen mind and beauty soon capture the attention of Pedro de Valdivia, field marshal to the explorer Francisco Pizarro, governor of Peru. Together, Ines and Pedro lead the expedition destined to colonize the wild and fertile land of Chile. Their love affair ultimately raises Ines to the heights of society, where she proves her nobility by defending the nascent town of Santiago from the attacks of the fierce natives.

In this, her ninth novel, Allende's love of her native lands she was born in Peru and raised in Chile before immigrating to the United States shines through. Ines, Pedro and the indigenous Chileans come alive, clashing with swords and clubs, facing starvation, betrayal and, finally, triumph. Allende weaves meticulously researched historic detail about the real-life Ines with brilliant imagination in this riveting tale, demonstrating again a singular talent for storytelling that grows stronger with each new work. <i>Kelly Koepke writes from Albuquerque, New Mexico.</i>

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