All that Glitters

Our lust for gold and other riches leads us astray today, much as it did in Coronado's time.

It was nearly 500 years ago that Fray Marcos de Niza was sent to "New Spain," including what is now Arizona, to search for the famed "Seven Cities of Cibola" and their reputed riches.

De Niza's fate, like so many others drawn by fortune, was sealed by greed and ambition, his own and that of others.

This week, we excerpt a chapter from Cities of Gold, William K. Hartmann's new novel that weaves the tale of de Niza with that of a fictional modern-day city planner who gets caught in the struggle between land developers and preservationists. (The excerpt is not available online.)

That struggle is not, of course, fictitious. We in Tucson witness it every day as our modern metropolis rips up desert and mountain landscape in favor of more homes, shopping centers, workplaces and the roads that link them.

As Hartmann alludes, Tucson is a modern city of gold. For many who come here, it proves more fable than reality. The lust for money and power continues, with consequences for us all.