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Friday, December 13, 2013

Ahuitzotl: A Novel of Aztec Mexico

Genre: Historical Mystery, Romance

Setting: The Aztec Empire before the European Colonization

FYI: Some adult content

First Sentence: We fear our Gods!

This novel is the story of Ahuitzotl who was one of the last Aztec emperors.

As the story begins our main character is an ambitious Aztec warlord.  He is unhappy with the the emperor, his brother Tizoc, is ruling the kingdom.  The Aztecs believe that they bring glory to the gods through the valor of their warriors and the sacrifice of their captives.  They maintain their supply of sacrificial victims by waging war against neighboring tribes.

Tizoc wants to settle disputes with the vassal tribes in a peaceful manner.  This is viewed as a weakness by the vassal states and the Aztec leaders.

When Tizoc dies unexpectedly, Ahuitzotl is selected to be the next emperor. He is determined to be the greatest emperor in Aztec history.  To achieve his goal, Ahuitzotl wages total war against belligerent tribes.  His win-at-any-cost strategies go against the Aztec's customary ways of waging war in which the goal was to capture, rather than kill, your enemy.  Ahuitzotl ignores the priests who warn him that he risks offending the gods by trying to gain personal glory.

In his personal life, Ahuitzotl is passionately in love with the beautiful Lady Pelaxilla.  Although he loves her, he is forbidden to marry her because she is not of the royal blood.  However, the emperor must have a wife, so Ahuitzotl offers marriage to his brother Tizoc's widow, the Lady Tlulalca.

These two women are extremely jealous of each other.  Ahuitzotl manages his relationships with them poorly.  He is much too self absorbed to build a loving relationship with them.  His mistakes will haunt him to the end of his days.

Throughout his life Ahuitzotl's megalomania leads him to make a series of poor decisions.  In the end, Ahuitzotl learns that his quest for personal glory has cost him everything he holds dear.

I enjoyed reading this novel.  It was an interesting story about a real person from history.  I knew that Ahuitzotl's pride would lead him to great conquests and great errors.  I kept reading to find out how he would gain glory, and then how he would throw it away.

I do believe that the novel would be greatly improved by a little more editing.  This might improve the narrative and correct some odd misspellings.

Over all, for me, this was a fun read.  If you are interested in historical fiction, and the Aztecs you might like it too.

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