Written in elegant and precise prose, Don Vicente contains two novels in F. Sionil José's classic Rosales Saga. The saga, begun in José's novel Dusk, traces the life of one family, and that of their rural town of Rosales, from the Philippine revolution against Spain through the arrival of the Americans to, ultimately, the Marcos dictatorship.
The first novel here, Tree, is told by the loving but uneasy son of a land overseer. It is the story of one young man's search for parental love and for his place in a society with rigid class structures. The tree of the title is a symbol of the hopes and dreams—too often dashed—of the Filipino people.
The second novel, My Brother, My Executioner, follows the misfortunes of two brothers, one the editor of a radical magazine who is tempted by the luxury of the city, the other an activist who is prepared to confront all of his enemies, real or imagined. The critic I. R. Cruz called it "a masterly symphony" of injustice, women, sex, and suicide.
Together in Don Vicente, they form the second volume of the five-novel Rosales Saga, an epic the Chicago Tribune has called "a masterpiece."