Aztec A Novel Author:Gary Jennings Here is the extraordinary story of the last and greatest native civilization of North America, at the very height of its magnificence, told by a novelist working at the very height of his powers. It is a story told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters of recent fiction. His name is Mixtli-Dark Cloud. Born the son of a ... more »provincial quarrier, Mixtli rises far above his station. he becomes, first, a scribe; he goes on to distinguish himself as a warrior, earns a fortune as a traveling merchant, explores every part of what the Aztecs called Tne One World - the far lands of mountains, jungles, deserts, seacoasts. His courage and resourcefulness earn him a knighthood and, eventually, elevation to the nobility.
Mixtli's long and tumultuous life takes him - and us with him - on epoc journeys through lands and among peoples little known even at that time, sharing adventures hazardous, suspenseful, harrowing, and sometimes comic. His insatiable thirst for challenge and far horizons leads him to witness the barbaric gore and glory of the Wars of Flowers, the feather-banner splendor of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the cruel nomadic life of the desert's Dog People, the proud culture of the Cloud People of the mountains, the wretched remnants of the once-mighty Maya in the jungles far to the south. With Mixtli we experience blood-drenched but awesomely grand sacrificial ceremonies; we encounter other blood-curdling forms of violence; we suffer the shattering personal tragedies with which the gods have ordained that Mixtli must pay for the honors and riches that he earns; and we meet love and sexuality in numerous varieties, from the forbidden first love of his childhood to the ghastly proclivities of the female Bluebeard called Jadestone Doll to the great, enduring, and tragic love of his life.
At the pinnacle of Mixtli's career, and of the Aztecs' greatness, he receives his most significant commission - to be Motecuzoma's first emisarry to the white strangers who have suddenly and disturbingly arrived on the eastern shores. Not knowing whether they are men or gods, little imagining what is in store for his people, Mixtli thus meets Hernan Cortes and his Conquistadors, come to destroy Aztec civilization, obliterate its society, and impose new gods and alien laws. Even then, in the rubble of The One World, himself abased and impoverished and grown old, Mixtli stands like a weathered colossus and endures to defy the conquerors with one last act of heroic dignity. Indeed, Aztec is a novel of heroic dimension in every respect. Twelve years in the making, it is compelling in story, in its feel of history happening, in its tumult of events, and rich with memorable characters and brilliantly colorful exoticism. It is an epic tale, full of power and surprise, that will leave its readers wishing it would never end.« less