First biography of the little-known real-life Tom Sawyer (a friend of Mark Twain during his brief tenure as a California newspaper reporter), told through a harrowing account of Sawyer's involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth century San Francisco.
Pt. 1. The man who burned down San Francisco : December 24, 1849-September 16, 1850. Broderick and the Christmas Eve catastrophe ; Sawyer ; Sleep runners and flying houses ; Broderick's rogues ; Rainbow rivers of gold and silver -- Pt. 2. The lightkeeper : September 17, 1850-June 22, 1851. Tug-of-war ; The melting house ; The lodger ; The golden ring -- Pt. 3. Steaming with Twain and Sawyer : May 26, 1863-December 16, 1866. Steamers ; The fire girl ; Let us build a city