I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. . .

For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats.

It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt takes that first step to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics.  It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.

A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire brings to vibrant life the most impressive-and embattled- engineering achievement of the twentieth-century.

From Readers of Saffire

A beautiful, historical story! I love how the story and characters come to life, bringing the history alive for readers. I enjoy Sigmund Brouwer’s stories, and this one was no exception! The time period is interesting with the social and political issues in the early 1900’s. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Amanda Nicolle

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer is one of the best books I have read in 2016. Saffire is fast paced, interesting, and filled with so much history. Saffire is a book you will pick up and not want to put down until you finish the very last page. Perfect for fans of Historical fiction. Saffire is also the perfect read for Autumn. I don’t know why but it had an Autumn feel to it. I do plan on re-reading it once we’re in October.

Woman at the Well

The History


Earl Harding defends Columbia

The myth that Columbia tried to blackmail the United States for more money was used to justify the American-backed revolution of Panama against Columbia. Earl Harding, a reporter for The World, who makes an appearance in Saffire, debunks the myth in this article.

Download the PDF


Harry Alverson

Zone Policeman 88 Harry Alverson Franck makes many appearances in Saffire and here’s the source for Holt’s time with the man.

Find Out More


Panama Canal Research

If you’d like to do some of your own research about the building of the Panama Canal, here’s a suggested reading list.

See The Sources


Time Line

Here’s where James Holt’s life fits into the historical events found in Saffire.

See Time Line

Author’s note

extra-closeup-279x300What was T.B. Miskimon’s full name?
Barely a hundred years have passed since the Panama Canal opened; time and progress have blurred how much of a wonder it was that Teddy Roosevelt and the brash Americans were able to overcome all the obstacles it took to join the oceans. I hope that Saffire recreated some of that wonder for you.

While I did my best to ensure as much of the backdrop of the story is as accurate as possible, I did take liberty with the building of the locks, as concrete did not begin to pour until later in 1909, months after I portrayed it in the novel.

Also, not until February 4, 1917 did the New York Times run an article with this headline: ‘GERMAN SPIES ACTIVE HERE FOR MONTHS’, with the sub headline ‘Hostile agents reported to number 10,000 — Espionage Extended To Panama Canal’. Based on this, it is reasonable to speculate, I’d suggest, that in 1909, those living in Panama could legitimately believe German spies to already be at work in Panama.

Continue reading Author Note

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