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Library JournalThe turbulent encounter of the Spanish conquerors and the Aztec Empire frames this story of jealousy and betrayal featuring two noble Catalonian brothers: the perseverant Guifré, kidnapped on his wedding day and traded as a slave to the New World, where he joins with the Aztecs; and the ambitious Domènech, a calculating monk on his way to becoming a high-ranking inquisitor and the powerful bishop of Catalonia. This debut adult novel by a Catalonian journalist and children's literature author excels in its research and contextualization of the period. Every chapter is crafted with care regarding the clothes, food, and architectural details used to contrast the Old and the New Worlds. Through the writer's imagination, the reader is given a window into the day-to-day encounters of conqueror and conquered in which religion plays a key role. The plot is straightforward, and the characters' reactions tend to be simple and expected; like a colonial Ulysses, Guifré finds love and adversity while he struggles to return home, and Domènech, entangled with politics, corrupts himself with resentment, envy, and cruelty. Despite the setting, the language is modern, and usage of Nahuatl, the Aztecs' language, is easy to follow, especially with the glossary. Recommended for public libraries with a Spanish-language colonial, Hispanic, or Central American literature collection.—Angela Lang, New York, NY
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