Death Comes for the Archbishop is a novel by Willa Cather that tells the story of Bishop Jean Latour and vicar Father Joseph Vaillant as they establish the new Roman Catholic diocese of New Mexico.
The novel is based on the true story of Jean-Baptiste Lamy and Joseph Machebeuf. The capture of the Southwest by the United States in the Mexican–American War is the catalyst for the plot.
The two interrelated themes of order and reclamation and preservation of the past are emphasized further with the construction of the cathedral at Santa Fe.
Latour finds a rock in the New Mexico landscape to use as a cornerstone for his church because it reminds him of the churches in France. The conflict between Native Religion and Catholicism is also a major theme in the novel.
What I Liked
It’s Cather’s best novel in my opinion. I love the setting.
What I Did Not Like
Not a whole lot – solid novel.