In the Courts of the Sun

In the Courts of the Sun

3.2 28
by Brian D'Amato
     
 

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December 21, 2012. The day time stops. Jed DeLanda, a descendant of the Maya living in the year 2012, is a math prodigy who spends his time playing Go against his computer and raking in profits from online trading. His secret weapon? A Mayan divination game—once used for predicting corn-harvest cycles, now proving very useful in predicting corn

Overview

December 21, 2012. The day time stops. Jed DeLanda, a descendant of the Maya living in the year 2012, is a math prodigy who spends his time playing Go against his computer and raking in profits from online trading. His secret weapon? A Mayan divination game—once used for predicting corn-harvest cycles, now proving very useful in predicting corn futures—that his mother taught him. But Jed's life is thrown into chaos when his former mentor, the game theorist Taro, and a mysterious woman named Marena Park invite him to give his opinion on a newly discovered Mayan codex.

Marena and Taro are looking for a volunteer to travel back to 664 AD to learn more about a "sacrifice game" described in the codex. Jed leaps at the chance, and soon scientists are replicating his brain waves and sending them through a wormhole, straight into the mind of a Mayan king.

Only something goes wrong. Instead of becoming a king, Jed arrives inside a ballplayer named Chacal who is seconds away from throwing himself down the temple steps as a human sacrifice. If Jed can live through the next few minutes, he might just save the world.

Bringing to mind Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Gary Jennings's Aztec, yet entirely unique, In the Courts of the Sun takes you from the distant past to the near future in a brilliant kaleidoscope of ideas.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans of the late Michael Crichton will welcome this engrossing SF thriller, the first in a projected trilogy by D'Amato (Beauty). As December 12, 2012, the date the Maya predicted would mark the end of the world, approaches, the Warren Group, a shadowy conglomerate, seeks to use technological advances to forestall disaster. One way is to send the mind of Jed DeLanda, a savant skilled at a contemporary version of the Mayas' sacrifice game, into the body of a seventh-century Mayan hip-ball player to learn more about why the apocalyptic prediction was made. DeLanda's time-travel comes just as a devastating calamity, possibly triggered by biological weapons, hits Orlando, Fla. The action shifts easily between the near-future and the past. While the use of modern idiom in the historical scenes may take some getting used to, the period details are as convincing as those in Simon Levack's superb Aztec mysteries (The Demon of the Air, etc.). (Mar.)

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Library Journal

The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, and many wonder what will happen on that fateful day. That is the question D'Amato (Beauty) examines in this sprawling tome. Familiar with a game that the Mayans used to predict the future, Jed Deland successfully makes money on the stock market using the same methods. He ends up helping an organization with access to time-travel technology so that he can travel back at the height of the Mayan civilization, interact with these ancient people, and find out what the world can expect when the calendar ends. Not a thriller, a work of science fiction, or a historical, this novel is hard to define. End-of-the-world aficionados will find it compelling, but librarians will have a hard time booktalking it. It also ends with the dreaded four words: End of Book One. Will the entire series be published before the apocalypse? For larger collections only. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/1/08.]
—Jeff Ayers

From the Publisher
"A remarkable, unique, stand-out book…. In a word: awesome. Or brilliant. Make that two words: awesome and brilliant." —Raymond Khoury, author of The Last Templar and The Sanctuary

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451229069
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Pages:
704
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Douglas Preston
"In the Courts of the Sun by Brian D'Amato is an enthralling and original read, a stunningly inventive novel that will keep you turning the pages until the wee hours. With the sure hand of a master storyteller, D'Amato weaves together Mayan history, modern science, game theory and the coming Mayan apocalypse to deliver a gripping read. Beware December 21, 2012!"--(Douglas Preston, author of The Codex and The Monster of Florence)
From the Publisher
"A remarkable, unique, stand-out book…. In a word: awesome. Or brilliant. Make that two words: awesome and brilliant." —-Raymond Khoury, author of The Last Templar and The Sanctuary
Raymond Khoury
"A remarkable, unique, stand-out book. Prodigious in its scope, its originality, its ambition, its intelligence, and the mastery of its research. In a word: awesome. Or brilliant. Make that two words: awesome and brilliant."--(Raymond Khoury, author of The Last Templar and The Sanctuary)

Meet the Author

Robertson Dean has recorded hundreds of audiobooks in most every genre. He's been nominated for several Audie Awards, won nine Earphones Awards, and was named one of AudioFile magazine's Best Voices of 2010.

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In the Courts of the Sun 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Since the recent discover of a new Mayan codex from the seventh century, many people are beginning to believe in the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 12, 2012. As the date of doom approaches, the Warren Group, firm believers that doing nothing will prove the Mayans right, decide on several methods to delay the end. They especially feel the first step is to send someone back in time to the seventh century when the prediction surfaced into the mind of a Mayan royal as the key to learn why the deadly forecast.

The Group believes Jed DeLanda, an expert on the Mayan¿s Sacrifice Game, has the perfect focused mind they need. They send his conscience back through time to 664 AD targeting the monarch; instead his conscience enters the mind of seventh-century Mayan Sacrifice Game playing superstar Chacal seconds before his host is to suicide as a sacrifice.

This is an exciting doomsday science fiction thriller that moves the audience back and forth between the countdown to 2012 and the original prophesy in the seventh century. The story line in both centuries is well written and exhilarating while Jed is a believable hero in both eras. Fans will especially appreciate the vivid descriptions of the Mayans society especially insight into the Human Sacrifice game and the purpose of the Great Pyramid. IN THE COURT OF THE SUN is a refreshing unique thriller.

Harriet Klausner
BerkeleyBob More than 1 year ago
I bought this on impulse, because of my interest in Mayan culture. Have read Coe, Schlee and others, visited several sites, including Tikal. I am about 3/4 of the way through this gripping read. Although there is a time travel premise, I don't think this falls within the science fiction genre. It is extremely well-researched and the author has a real feel for meso-America. The hero is likeable, a modern Maya with extraordinary computational skills who hopes to avert the end of time as predicted in 2012. If you are a fan of Stephenson and want an offbeat but intellectually stimulating read, this delivers. Big time. Kudos to the author.
sable_jordan More than 1 year ago
I am usually not one to give a review on a book i didn't (or, more precisely, couldn't) finish, however i feel it necessary to speak my mind on this one. I tried slogging through this work of prose, but it is, in a word, tedious. Let's just say i didn't get very far ( in 4 days , mind you, and i can polish off a 600-pager like it was "see spot run") and am truly disappointed as I was very much looking forward to this read. High marks for originality and the book cover, but the detail was so overwhelming that I had a hard time focusing on the plot. Perhaps I'll give it a try another time, but if it's all to end in 2012, i think i'd be better off spending those 2 & 1/2 years reading something i truly enjoy.
Jeff_5333 More than 1 year ago
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting something outside of the norm. It was actually quite difficult to read, his style is odd to say the least, but the manner in which he wrote it showed he was a normal joe, people can relate. He did not talk down, or up it was like you were in his head the whole time experiencing everything right along with Jed and Jed2.
DSB7 More than 1 year ago
This book definitely makes it into my top ten best books EVER. It is so imaginitive, so mind-bendingly interesting that you can't wait to get home to read the next chapter. I've nearly ruined my eyes trying to finish this fantastic story. In addition to being such a great tale, it is also hilarious and I find myself laughing out loud. Love, love love this book and what an extra bonus to find out it is the first of a trilogy!
ROVA More than 1 year ago
The wry, cocky first-person narrative works well, and the storyline is engaging, but the book bogs down in overly detailed, moment-by-moment descriptions. Clearly, it's being stretched into a trilogy. Overall, Mesoamerican cultures are vividly portrayed, and the plot IS clever. Latin American History and sci-fi are big interests of mine, so more than likely I'll read the remaining volumes... but probably in paperback.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've actually stopped reading. I only made it to page 200 and it was so slow I almost fell asleep reading a couple of the chapters. The explanations the author offers for certain events just don't seem plausible. Also he brings politics into the mess. In the beginning the book jumps all over the place. I don't recommend this book to anyone.
dragonfly7 More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to reading this book but ended up forcing myself to plow through it in the hopes it really was going somewhere. Why didn't I just put it away? The subject fascinates me and the plot was imaginative. However, the author's flip writing style was unappealing and seemed to mock the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book overall. The historical perspective I thought was excellent. The only real drawback to the storyline was the unbridled vitriol that author has for those who don't show his political views. It overshadowed the story unfortunately and would have been much better off if it had been masked and left out of the storyline. It was brought up as often as the author thought he could add it and even played an intrinsic role. A shame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for enjoyment while in Mexico this summer touring the Mayan and Aztec sites. The book was so slow towards the middle of the book that I decided to leave it in my hotel room for the next guest....it was not worth my time or interest to finish it. Sorry for negative feedback to the author....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aside from the fact that you have to be a Maylan or a scientist to understand what this book is all about, the story line was not that good. I will definetly not read the second book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good plot, rambling character thought processes, pseudo-scientific incomprehensible formulae. Overall an okay book but should have been edited more than it was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was ready to to buy this book, because I am interested in the Mayan culture. I read the reviews and I thought, hmmm Too many negatives. Then I read the sample, I could not understand all the jumbled up words and sentences the author was writing about. When I finished reading the sample, I had no idea what I had just read. Do I want to buy this book, I don't think so. I want to read about the Mayan's and 2012. Not Dick Cheny and politics.
RMiller41 More than 1 year ago
Sorry. I reached page 111 and had to stop. I am a man who admires good crafters of our glorious language, and the "boom-chika-boom" jive, popular teen "like" language turns my stomach. Mr. D'Amato might try writing for adults.
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writemywrong More than 1 year ago
I loved and hated this book. I was so put-off by D'Amato's incessant use of "that is", that is, re-explaining almost every joke/reference/technical jargon instead of doing a sufficient job of it in the first attempt. The gonzo-style narrative was coaxing at times and at other times annoying. I didn't need to know every single step in Jed's thought process. It dragged on quite a bit at times. However, as much as particulars vexed me, I DID finish the book and (I feel almost ashamed to admit) the author has me hooked for the second book. Kudos to him for that. I love the idea of the book and the theory of The Game. Detail in a novel is its essence, but too much essence in this book left a bit of a perfunctory scent in my nostrils. I would recommend it... just not to everyone.
CJmo More than 1 year ago
This book is a lifetime favorite; I can't wait for Brian D'Amato to publish the next book in his trilogy, promised to arrive by the end of 2010. It's a great book for cultural difference discussion. I'd just returned from my ninth visit to South America, living and studying among modern day, poor & middle class Bolivians. It's common there to mix culture and faith/s. Life's not black & white, but filled with story and myth, contradictions. I found D'Amoto's story, style, characters and attention to detail to fit seamlessly with existing Latino & Indian cultures. The Sacrifice Game, chaos and game theory, creation stories, the old god myths depicting 'end of time;' it blended well. They made 'game' sense to me. I found his characters believable and interesting, quirky and courageous or malevolent, scary or oddly disconnected. From Jed-Jed2 to the porters and different clan members and minor players (Jed's family). A favorite was the ancient nun - very effective! Knowing and respecting my 'Mayan/Aztec,' friends, I realize that it IS a story! Imagination is crucial to consider things he posits; yet so were flight, traveling thru space, even many surgeries now performed daily. All those events and actions are things we now take for granted, yet few people on earth actually understand how they transpire. A rare group of visionaries 'see' them; and they happen. Not so different from Mayan seers who 'see' the future,' and help it happen or not. INTCoTS is definitely NOT a novel for the faint of heart; you need to read it, like "The Sparrow" and "Children of God" (Mary Doria Russell) with an open mind. (Added to that, I can understand that the overt use of psychogenic drugs to 'see' what happens, might cause some folks a case of serious nervous exhaustion! It's not an easy cultural leap to make if you are a person who doesn't "go there" as a matter of course or habit.)I can understand that people might find it difficult, given the western propensity for categorical answers, perfection and success at almost any cost. The potential outcome of a cataclysmic end for life as we know it (in the story) can seem unnerving, especially if your cultural lifestyle has added to its final unraveling. I feel that what other reviews may have missed, by not reading the entire book/story, is that we all ~ as humans do this to ourselves and others. We bring about our own end, by choosing to harm others and not caring for the earth. That said, we all have our hiding places, and ways to cope or deal with reality that gets too hard. I liked it; no, I loved the book. I loved it from the start all through his calendar work and use of the porters to priestess clan, the description of sounds and smells, the use of myth and story. I've seen the positive & negative effects of 'religious groups and cults' within our American society, each up-close and personal. Given the results of the global mistakes that each culture has made or allowed to happen as countries/ individuals), we've no room to judge other people/cultures, or to call their ways primitive, improbable or outside the realm of possibly of offering hope and life. We don't have the freedom to dismiss others, despite faith or political leanings. There's no cultural, religious, etc., "safety net" that makes all the bad things that go bump in the night disappear. I think that we learn from myth and story how to look at and deal with our f
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JGolomb More than 1 year ago
"In the Courts of the Sun" is an interesting novel, built Frankenstein-like from the elements of a Michael Crichton techno-thriller, Gary Jennings' "Aztec" series, and one of Stephen Baxter's novel spins on time travel. I enjoyed the book, but it's uneven. The book was written by artist Brian D'Amato and is being publicized as the first of three books in a Sacrifice Game trilogy. The story is heavily character-driven, led by Jed DeLanda, a supremely intelligent, anti-social, hard-core gamer...of Mayan descent. DeLanda is one of the few people in the world who can play an ancient Mayan game used to help see into the future. Capitalizing on the real-world 2012 doomsday popularity, D'Amato's story places Jed in position to help decipher a recently discovered Mayan codex, and play his game to help unravel mysterious clues about the end of the world as predicted to take place on December 21, 2012. Jed, connected through an insanely rich man and organization, is given a chance to go back in time to find the author of the codex which predicts this 2012 doomsday. He's not actually going back in time himself, but his consciousness is transferred to an individual in 664 AD. The original target for Jed's consciousness is the ruler of the Mayan city of Ix. Instead, Jed2 (as the consciousness part of Jed is referred to) misses the target and is placed in Chacal, a champion Mayan ball player who's been selected as a sacrifice in place of the Mayan ruler. About one-third of the story takes place in 664 AD in Central America and Mexico with Jed2 narrating his search for the author of the codex and how he might be able to play the game and determine the details surrounding the foretold 12/21/12 holocaust. Jed2's narration is sandwiched between Jed's narration leading up to the consciousness time travel and its aftermath. The story is carried by a heavy amount of Jed's inner monologue, which at times is quite good and insightful. I was particularly appreciative of his well-stated rants of self actualization, and his introverts' perspective on other personality types. Jed's very snarky, which at times was wonderful at lightening the mood but at other times a little grating and rambling. He spends a good amount of time detailing the Game. The conclusion is disappointing. I don't know how else to put it. Part two is due later in 2010 and I'm finding myself only moderately interested in finding out what happens next. As a big fan of Gary Jenning's "Aztec", I'd like to see a return to the world of ancient America, and perhaps D'Amato will keep to a crisper storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I struggled though this nearly 700 page book to find out that the author is using the book to announce his dislike for Republicans and Dick Cheney in particular. I have seen enough of this retoric on the news to last a lifetime. I couldn't care less who the author likes or dislikes and he is certainly entitled to his opinnion. I, however will not waste another 30 dollars on his next book to find out who he will be venting against next year. It could have been an interesting, albeit convoluted and drawn-out story, but using the story as a vehicle to express his political views does not entertain me in the least.