The Eagle's Throne

( 3 )


Here is a true literary event–the long-awaited new novel by Carlos Fuentes, one of the world’s great writers. By turns a tragedy and a farce, an acidic black comedy and an indictment of modern politics, The Eagle’s Throne is a seriously entertaining and perceptive story of international intrigue, sexual deception, naked ambition, and treacherous betrayal.
In the near future, at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Mexico’s idealistic president has dared to vote ...
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The Eagle's Throne

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Here is a true literary event–the long-awaited new novel by Carlos Fuentes, one of the world’s great writers. By turns a tragedy and a farce, an acidic black comedy and an indictment of modern politics, The Eagle’s Throne is a seriously entertaining and perceptive story of international intrigue, sexual deception, naked ambition, and treacherous betrayal.
In the near future, at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Mexico’s idealistic president has dared to vote against the U.S. occupation of Colombia and Washington’s refusal to pay OPEC prices for oil. Retaliation is swift. Concocting a “glitch” in a Florida satellite, America’s president cuts Mexico’s communications systems–no phones, faxes, or e-mails–and plunges the country into an administrative nightmare of colossal proportions.

Now, despite the motto that “a Mexican politician never puts anything in writing,” people have no choice but to communicate through letters, which Fuentes crafts with a keen understanding of man’s motives and desires. As the blizzard of activity grows more and more complex, political adversaries come out to prey. The ineffectual president, his scheming cabinet secretary, a thuggish and ruthless police chief, and an unscrupulous, sensual kingmaker are just a few of the fascinating characters maneuvering and jockeying for position to achieve the power they all so desperately crave.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Terrence Rafferty
Sex, politics, Mexico and the enigmas of identity are the themes that have preoccupied — even, at times, obsessed — Carlos Fuentes for his entire writing life, and he brings them together once again, in full regalia, in his smashing new novel, The Eagle's Throne. Here, though, they feel less like obsessions than like old friends, the trusted longtime companions of the novelist's working days.
— The New York Times
Francisco Goldman
For anyone aspiring to be a Mexican politician, this should be an indispensable manual. For those seeking to apply such knowledge -- if only as a vicarious pleasure -- to their own circumstances, well, it can only make you wiser.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
An ailing Mexican president, two years into his mandated six-year term and manipulated by everyone around him, has banned oil exports to the U.S. and called for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from occupied Colombia. In retaliation, American President Condoleezza Rice has, through the magic of an unimagined technology, shut down all of Mexico's telephone, fax and Internet communications. That's the fanciful but not entirely implausible futuristic backdrop for this corrosive political satire from Fuentes (The Old Gringo), considered Mexico's leading novelist (and one-time ambassador to France). His darkly comic tale of backbiting, double-crossing, murderous duplicity, sexual scheming and outright assassination is primarily epistolary, and it's a format that suits Fuentes's flowery prose style, though the voices of his various characters tend to blur into one another. Readers with even a smidgeon of familiarity with Mexico's unkempt political traditions will wallow in this caustic indictment. (May 16) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The year is 2020, and Mexican politics is dirtier and more violent than ever. Condoleeza Rice is the President of the United States, and the Big Brother to the North has just sent troops to occupy drug-infested Colombia. Owing to Mexico's vigorous opposition to the invasion of Colombia, the United States has invoked Operation Cucaracha, whereby all communications to and within Mexico, controlled by the Florida Satellite Center, have been cut off. There are no phones, no faxes, and no Internet, and because Mexicans have had to return to old-fashioned means of communication, the action of this page-turner depends entirely on letters exchanged between a wide array of ruthless intellectual characters, among them two politically gifted women, Maria del Rosario Galvan and Paulina Tardegarda. As the septuagenarian Fuentes tantalizingly reveals the identity and parentage of new interim president Nicolas Valdivia, it is obvious he is at the top of his storytelling mastery, and his insights into Mexico's sad decline into global thuggery will further heighten the fascination for this book. Highly recommended.-Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First published in Spanish in 2002, the veteran Mexican author's ebullient revival of the epistolary novel casts a frosty eye on future (and contemporary) geopolitics. In the year 2020, lame-duck Mexican president Lorenzo Teran provokes the U.S. (and its chief executive, Condoleeza Rice) by formally protesting the presence of American troops in neighboring Colombia, and threatening to follow OPEC's lead in setting prices for oil shipped north. Mexico's conduit to the rest of the world-its satellite communication system (which is routed through Miami)-mysteriously goes down. The politically active find they're able to communicate only by writing letters-and Fuentes's richly comic premise begins to disclose a teeming little world of interconnected intrigues. Machiavellian beauty Mar'a del Rosario Galvan schemes to place her handsome, sexually resourceful young "protege," Nicolas Valdivia, on "the eagle's throne" (i.e., Mexico's presidency, limited by law to a single six-year term). But Nicolas is a front, employed to pave the way for Mar'a's longtime lover, Secretary of State Bernal Herrera. Meanwhile, a former president fidgets in retirement, hungry for a return to power. A yes-man opportunist is set up as a straw man whom Valdivia can easily topple. Truculent General C'cero Arrunza dreams of establishing an efficient military dictatorship. These and other machinations are seen in the contexts of Mexico's embattled political history (recently scarred by the cruel fate visited on doomed naif populist candidate Tomas Moctezuma Moro); skeletons hidden in numerous closets; and Nicolas's inconvenient independence. The world outside spins on, blithely unconcerned (nonagenarian Fidel Castro stillthrives in Cuba)-and a Downs Syndrome child, an embarrassment locked safely away from public view, speaks the novel's poignant final words. Of course, the detailed (often redundant) exchanges of letters are anything but realistic. Still, in a gratifying return to form, Fuentes handles the hoary old convention with impressive finesse. A nerve-grating cautionary tale, and one of his best books.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812972559
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 564,386
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than twenty books, including This I Believe, The Death of Artemio Cruz, and The Old Gringo. He served as Mexico’s ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977. He has received many awards and honors, including the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, the National Prize in Literature (Mexico’s highest literary award), the Cervantes Prize, and the inaugural Latin Civilization Award. He has also been the recipient of France’s Legion of Honor medal, Italy’s Grinzane Cavour Award, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award, and Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross. His work has appeared in The Nation, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Washington Post Book World. He currently divides his time between Mexico City and London.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Fabulous Tale From Mexican Politics

    A rather extraordinary work by a brilliant author. In this complex work of political and social philosophy we are presented with a story in which the Mexican President has disturbed the United States economically resulting in the cessation of all television and radio service in Mexico. Government and legislative officals communicate through written letters and each chapter represents the unfolding of the plot in which characters plan and execute courses of action designed to further their political or social agendas. The characters created are gems of complexity usually perverse or downright despicable. The story unwinds in this manner with internal conversations and justifications occurring within these "letters". In some cases the chapters represent tapes being transmittted to allies or enemies. Keeping track of who is who and who is honest or dishonest and even who is really the person speaking, this is all part of the fun and interest generated by Mr. Fuentes. Sometimes the conversations are confusing and the philosophy difficult to comprehend, but in the end the basic humanity of the final political climax as exposed to the reader reaffirms that a good and honest life should be the one attempted. That does not alter the fact that individuals will continue to behave in ways that deny their humanity and bring hurt to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 6, 2011

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    Posted September 28, 2010

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