Based on a book from the Bible, the Book of Tobit, my young adult novel, Tobias and the Angels, is retold in a setting of 1871 southern California. Tobit’s eighteen-year-old son Tobias Zepeda, accompanied by his Spanish mastiff, Cherub, and a mysterious Friar Raphael, undertakes a trip from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles to retrieve the money that will save the Zepeda ranch from foreclosure. Tobias also plans to continue on to San Gabriel to aid his childhood friend, Sarah.
Sarah has always been in love with Tobias, but he refused to move to San Gabriel and become a farmer so she married a local farm boy, Henry.
Henry, married for about one hour, is killed on the way from the mission chapel to the wedding feast. The unknown killer is a sniper who kills any man or boy showing an interest in Sarah. Some of the townspeople believe she’s been cursed by God, and she sinks into a life-threatening depression.
While riding from Los Angeles to San Gabriel, Tobias and the friar happen upon a runaway Chinese girl, Chun Loie, who is fleeing the Los Angeles brothel she’d been sold to. They disguise her in a friar’s robe to hide her from bounty hunters. They take her to the Mission San Gabriel Archangel. There the mysterious Deputy Ash, a CSA veteran, refuses to help bounty hunters wanting to capture the runaway, eventually killing one who assaulted Sarah and seized Chun Loie.
At the Mission San Gabriel Archangel, Tobias and the friar, aided by Father Leclecq, Don Corinto and his son, Alfredo, discover the identity of the serial sniper while fending off bounty hunter attempts to kidnap Chun Loie. During this series of events, Tobias aids Sarah in coming out of her depression while discovering he loves Sarah and wants to marry her.