Sunday, October 7, 2012

Aztec Revenge-Gary Jennings and Junius Podrug

Aztec Revenge

Gary Jennings and Junius Podrug

Forge, Oct 16 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765317049

In 1569 in the Valley of Mexico, New Spain Don Juan de Zavala the L├ępero sits in his cell reflecting on what he could have done differently to avoid being caught for horse-thieving. However, he concludes nothing as the horse thieves occupation guarantees a hanging no matter how good they are at their profession.

Still Juan reflects back on his life starting as a street urchin begging and stealing. As he got older, Juan became a skilled horseman and an adept thief. However, Juan became the fall guy in an accidental death, so he fled before he was executed; joining “banditos.” From there Juan masqueraded as a wealthy visiting Spaniard before confronting the Inquisitors and heading to Spain as Napoleon takes his war into the Iberian Peninsula. However, Juan de Zavala has a secret that has seemingly everyone from the crown to rebels led by Father Hidalgo needing him dead.

The latest Aztec historical thriller (see Aztec Rage) is an intriguing tale that is told mostly by Juan reflecting on his life. The insightful storyline contains an incredible amount of history, but at times lacks focus and turns tedious as the background information overwhelms the plot. Still fans of the series will enjoy the latest entry as Don Juan de Zavala lived a fascinating sixteenth century life.

Harriet Klausner

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