Don Carpenter is a talented writer, and a successful and rising talent at a San Francisco public relations firm. But Don finds that PR does not fulfill him. He feels an emptiness, a sense of uncertainty. When he is offered a position on the faculty of a university in Utah where he can not only teach in a solid creative writing workshop environment, but also concentrate on his own creative works, he finds himself at an impasse not uncommon to talented people. What to do? Money, commercial success, creative fulfillment? Don finds some startling answers in an even more startling way. Ducking into an odd shop, the Chateau Occult, during a downpour in downtown San Francisco, Don meets a mysterious woman who inexplicably appears to know more about him than conditions warrant. When she gives Don a small vial of strange blue powder, his journey begins.... and what a journey! Don travels in time back to the days before what we call San Francisco existed. He joins Sam Brannan, leader of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who travel from New York by sailing vessel to the little hamlet of Yerba Buena, a sleepy place situated between the Presidio and the Mission Dolores on the shores of San Francisco Bay. Brannan and Brigham Young had agreed that Sam's people would join up with Brigham's trekkers at some point. Until gold is discovered, that is! Don Carpenter travels back and forth to the Gold Rush days of San Francisco and sees the City actually take shape, both physically and, more importantly, spiritually and in its incipient character. The blue powder brings him back again to the heyday of Vigilante rule in the City by the Bay, and Sam Brannan's problems begin to reflect some of the difficulties facing Don Carpenter. When Don's friend, a history professor at Berkeley, assures Don that all he recounts really happened, Don wonders about the meaning of it all. When his alter ego in nineteenth century San Francisco meets a wonderful woman, the situation becomes even more unusual. Don Carpenter is groping towards a solution to his dilemma, and hoping for an answer to his prayers, when circumstances dictate a return to the Chateau Occult, the weird shop where some answers might be had, or maybe not. This time, Don finds a shop that may not be there, but a destiny that surely is. San Francisco has its own magic spell that it casts effortlessly over people. For Don Carpenter, the spell is especially potent, and ultimately life changing.