ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
An investigation into the 2019 killings of nine Mormons in northern Mexico, which drew international attention, The Colony offers a glimpse into the strange, little-understood world of a Fundamentalist Mormon outpost.
Faith and Blood in a Promised Land
“One of the most gripping and disturbing true stories I’ve ever come across. . . . In exploring what really happened, Sally Denton, a superb researcher and historian, delves deep into the history of polygamous Mormon splinter sects in Mexico, blood feuds, rivalries, and conflicts over land and water rights, as well as issues of drug smuggling. This is far more than the usual true crime book; it is a deep historical exploration of evil.
I could not put The Colony down.”
—Douglas Preston, number-one best-selling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
On the morning of November 4, 2019, an unassuming caravan of women and children was ambushed by masked gunmen on a desolate stretch of road in northern Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. The attackers killed nine people and gravely injured five more. The victims were members of the LeBarón and La Mora communities—fundamentalist Mormons whose forebears broke from the LDS Church and settled in Mexico when the church outlawed polygamy in the late nineteenth century. In THE COLONY (out 6/28/22), best-
selling investigative journalist Sally Denton takes on the still-ongoing case, in a masterful work of history and a chilling, compulsive true crime narrative that begins as the story of a massacre, and unfurls into the strange, violent history of the LeBaron clan in a land much stranger than fiction.
Drawing on firsthand interviews with anonymous women from the LeBarón community and historical research, Denton unfolds an epic, disturbing tale that spans from the first polygamist emigrations to Mexico through the LeBaróns’ internal blood feud in the 1970s—started by Ervil LeBaron, known as the “Mormon Manson”—and up to the family’s recent alliance with the NXIVM sex cult, whose now-imprisoned leader, Keith Raniere, may have based his practices on the society he witnessed in Colonia LeBarón.
The LeBaróns’ tense but peaceful interactions with the Sinaloa cartel deteriorated in the years leading up to the ambush. LeBarón patriarchs believed they were deliberately targeted by the cartel. Others suspected that local farmers had carried out the attacks in response to the LeBaróns’ seizure of water rights for their massive pecan orchards. As Denton approaches answers to who committed the murders, and why, The Colony transforms into something more than a crime story. A descendant of polygamous Mormons herself, Denton explores what drove so many women over generations to join or remain in a community based on male supremacy and female servitude. Then and now, these women of Zion found themselves in an isolated desert, navigating the often-mysterious complications of plural marriage—and supported, Denton shows, only by one another.
A mesmerizing feat of investigative journalism, The Colony doubles as an unforgettable account of the sisterhood that can flourish in polygamous communities, against the odds.
Sally Denton is a best-selling investigative reporter and historian. She is the author of nine books, including the true crime classic The Bluegrass Conspiracy. She divides her time between Nevada and New Mexico.
TITLE: THE COLONY: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land
AUTHOR: Sally Denton
PUB DATE: June 28, 2022
PRICE: $27.95 hardcover