Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aztec by Colin Falconer

A beautiful tale of conquest and a fall of the great empire.

Book Description:

The daughter of a prophet and the child slave of Spanish adventurer Hernan Cortes, the life of the Aztec princess Malinali is one of the most enduring legends of Mexico. Her role in history divides opinion even today. Reviled by some as a traitor responsible for the destruction of the Indians, worshiped by others as a heroine and symbolic mother of the nation, hers is the most extraordinary story in the history of the Americas.

The legendary Aztec civilization is here brought to life in blazing colour, as the author traces the story of the enigmatic Malinali who held for a moment the future of an entire country in her hands. Contradictory, sensuous and fiercely intelligent, Malinali became the key to Cortes’ conquest of Mexico. It is a story of impossible odds, unimaginable cruelty, extraordinary courage, and craven betrayal. Who were the heroes and who the villains?

Today the Aztecs are a distant memory. But Malinali's name lives on. This book spent four months on the bestseller lists in Mexico, re-igniting debate yet again about the true heritage of a people and the very nature of western colonization of the natural world.

My Review:

In the novel AZTEC, Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, leads an expedition into Mexico to bring it under the rule of the King of Castile during the early 1500’s. He encounters a young, courageous slave woman named Malinali who was an once an Aztec princess sold into slavery to the Mayans when she was a child. Malinali becomes an interpreter and guide and consort to Cortés on his journey to speak to the greatest leader of Mexico.

This book is a remarkable novel, not only for its fascinating historical details, but because author Colin Falconer holds nothing back in recounting the pagan brutality and horrendous cruelties of this exotic land and time. He brings the legendary character of Malinali to life. She stands out as a paragon, a woman of virtue and enigmatic strength who will definitely appeal to feminine readers. Although there is a romantic element between Malinali and Cortés, it does not overpower the story. Rather, it acts as a comfort, soothing the reader’s mood after some of the more shocking, brutal scenes.

A fast-paced read, Aztec fascinated me from start to finish. As with all of Colin Falconer’s novels, his characters have depth and credibility, moving the story forward through their often unpredictable actions. His work takes the reader through a never-ending labyrinth of twists and turns that grips and entertains. You must get this book. It is a magnificent piece of work!


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