This is an alternate-history novel which postulates that things could have been different if the internal politics of the Incan empire had been just a little bit less disorganized, and they had readied themselves to take on the Spanish invasion spearheaded by Pizarro.
Although I often find alternate-history annoying, as it clutters up my head with inaccurate information, Blom usefully includes a blurb at the head of each chapter explaining what actually happened, historically. And, her research into Incan culture seems well-done - one can certainly learn a lot more about indigenous Americans from this book than, for example, Apocalypto! (The movie certainly had some nice visual effects and some [well, MANY] good chase scenes, but I would not have guessed it would be possible to make an entire film and include so LITTLE about the actual cuture of the people one was talking about!)
Anyway, back to Blom! While the book is interesting, her habit of translating every character's name into English is stylistically off-putting. I got rather tired of trying to put a face/character to monikers like "Exemplary Fortune," "Young Royal Happiness," and "Potato Flower." I think this is why it took me so long to finish this book!
The other problem is that Blom was definitely expecting to write a sequel. I don't know if she's still working on it, or whether the book didn't sell well enough for TOR to publish the sequel. But the book has two separate plotlines. The first deals with Atahualpa (Exemplary Fortune) encountering a captured Spaniard, and gradually coming to reach a degree of cross-cultural understanding - and adopting him to train Incas in Spanish fighting techniques.
The second concerns a young man, Hummingbird/Felipe who runs away and is semi-coerced into serving Pizarro, although his heart remains true to his people.
In the book, the two plotlines have not yet intersected at the end, and the outcome of this clash of cultures is still uncertain.
A look at the arrival of the Spanish in the new world, throught the eyes of native American characters. This book also gives us a well researched view of daily life in the Incan empire. How travel, allotment of resources, and empire-building might have been accomplished in a society without the wheel or money that still managed to fuse vast territory together.
Alternate history - good descriptions of the Inca civilization. Very good.