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Two generations of Wolfe men--begat by an English pirate in New Hampshire in 1828--track their violent but manifest destiny through the Diaz Regime in Mexico in the early 1900s and back to Gulf Coast Texas. The novel centers on two sets of identical "hero twins," each with a violent history that mirror the author's belief on the primacy of violence in the evolution of civilization. Their lives are intertwined with important events through the history of the United States, beginning in the 1820s. Crucial are the histories of the infamous Saint Patrick's Battalion (revered in Mexico as "los San Patricios") who deserted the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the rise and fall of Porfirio Diaz Regime (1876-1910), which marked the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.