Scott O’Dell (1898–1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.
The Feathered Serpentby Scott O'Dell
A young Spanish seminarian who the Mayas believe is their powerful god, Kukulcâan, witnesses the coming of Cortâes and the capture of the magnificent Aztec city, Tenochtitlan.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.68(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.82(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 15 Years
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Scott O'Dell's "The Feathered Serpent" is the second book of his "Seven Serpent's Trilogy", which also includes "The Captive" and "The Amethyst Ring". In "The Captive" we meet the young Julian Escobar who travels to the New World in the hopes of introducing Christianity to this land full of pagan "savages". He finds instead that the darkest hearts reside in his god-fearing, and gold-lusting fellow Spaniards. In "Feathered Serpent", we find that Escobar is not the typical hero, which makes for an interesting and unusual angle for young adult readers. Escobar has faults...and a very large one in particular when he assumes the role of Mayan god Kukulkan. At first it's a simple ploy to stay alive, but over time, we see this simulated godhood become him...and he it. Originally an unordained seminarian, Escobar rationalizes that it's acceptable to act as Kukulkan as perhaps the only way he can bring Christ to the native 'savages'. While witnessing this sometimes severe transformation of Escobar, the real beauty in O'Dell's story is his incorporation of the real-life conquest of Hernan Cortes over Moctezuma's Aztec nation. "Feathered Serpent" places Escobar (as God Kukulkan under-cover) right in the path of Cortes' march from the east coast of Mexico into Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztecs. He intercedes on behalf of the natives, but Cortes is too focused and the Spanish are too strong for Escobar to have any real impact. O'Dell does a fine job of blending his fictional characters with these real life events, and makes his story a great way to introduce the classic tale of Cortes' clash with Moctezuma. He weaves a complicated set of events into a simple, well-flowing adventure. If it's any indication of their quality and impact, I've found myself thinking about the first two stories days after I've finished them, and looking forward to jumping in and finishing the third.
Sharp stones and flaming arrows flew through the sky, but none hit Julián Escobar. Julián, a young Spanish student, was somehow trapped in the position of the Mayan god, Kukulcán. He went on a perilous journey to Tenochtitlán. He was finally at peace with the Emperor of Tenochtitlán, when Don Luis de Arroyo and Hernán Cortés, renowned Spanish commanders, arrived and attempted to destroy Tenochtitlán. Escobar was then stuck in the middle of a very bloody battle, but fortunately made it back to the City of the Seven Serpents. The Feathered Serpent is an entertaining and detailed book of the Mayan legends and culture. The characters in this book were very original. Julián Escobar, the main character, was a sly Spanish student who had to fit the role of Kukulcán, as well as fight in a war. Cantú was a clever and intelligent dwarf who traveled and fought beside Escobar and helped him make decisions. Don Luis was rarely a merciful Spanish commander and an old rival of Escobar, and nearly killed him at an earlier battle. The Feathered Serpent was full of action. A war started between the Mayans and Spaniards very early in the book. Many prisoners from past wars had their hearts removed in a sacrificial ritual to befriend gods, such as the spring god Xipe Totec. As the story came to a close, a large battle was fought between the Spaniards and Aztéca. The setting in this book was magnificent. The palace where Julián Escobar stayed was in a ruinous state, but ¿Two long corridors ended in a desolate garden where fountains once had played but now were silent.¿ The city of Tenochtitlán was first described as ¿rooms filled with strange gifts from vassal cities, nooks where fanged gods looked out at us, dank corridors lit by votive urns tended by dozens of black-robed priests who flitted about on secret missions, barefooted and reeking like carrion birds.¿ At the start of the final battle, four towers were built of heavy timber and ¿sheltered twenty-four soldiers and provided loopholes for musketeers and crossbow-men.¿ This book was very adventurous and exciting. The most interesting thing about it was that it contained a lot of information about the Mayan culture. The Mayans believe in many gods, from the Lord of the Evening Star called Kukulcán, to the rain god known as Chacmool. This book had something in it for everybody, and anyone who likes historical fiction would enjoy it. T. Baker