The Octopus Author:Frank Norris The first novel in a projected "trilogy of wheat," THE OCTOPUS combines vigorous realism with a vision epic in scope. Dominating the story are the vast wheat fields of the San Joaquin Valley in California; these rippling miles of grain are the prize in a titanic struggle between the powerful farmers who grow the wheat and the railroad monopoly t... more »hat controls its transportation. It is a conflict in which no quarter is given, whether the battle be with guns in an open field or bribes behind closed doors. The lives of a multitude of characters are encompassed as the struggle flourishes, yielding a grim harvest of death and disillusion, financial and moral ruin. From the interplay of individual destinies and inexorable economic forces, Frank Norris created a social drama of unprecedented proportions in American literature, and an unsurpassed portrayal of a dynamic and ruthless era. THE OCTOPUS is ranked by Robert E. Spiller as "Norris's most impressive work." Warren French terms it "a magnificent imaginative achievement, one of the few American novels to bring a significant episode from our history to life."