In the arid canyonlands of Mexico the race is on for the ultimate end-of-the-world codex—the final 1000-year-old prophesy of the god-king, Quetzalcoatl, who ruled Mexico 1000 years ago. Rita Critchlow and Cooper Jones hunt for that sacred codex in those scorching desert canyons, while 500 years ago, Pacal, a young slave-scholar, sets out on the same deadly quest. He too must find those apocalyptic writings, knowing that his era—the Age of the Aztecs—may well come to an end if he does not find them.
For Pacal, the End-Time is at hand. Montezuma has built a vast empire based in what will one day be Mexico City. Now however he faces war, disastrous drought, death-cult priests, who rip the hearts out of thousands of people atop their pyramids . . . and the arrival of red-bearded horse-borne conquistador, bearing preternaturally powerful weapons and catastrophic plagues, sowing pandemic death wherever he goes.
America's leaders are also staring into an apocalyptic abyss. Their own time mirrors that of Quetzacoatl's and the Aztec's in shocking detail. Convinced that Quetzalcoatl's codex holds the key to humanity's survival—that he is warning them of a global, planet-killing threat—the two women battle broiling desert canyons and drug-cartel warlords to track it down and decipher it.
Moreover, earlier glimpses of his prophesy foreshadow uncanny similarities to those of John's Book of Revelation. Are Quetzalcoatl's and Revelation's prophesies one and the same? Can they crack the 2012 code and save their world from their deadly fate? The countdown is on.
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About the Author
Gary Jennings was known for the rigorous and intensive research behind his books, which often included hazardous travel—exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for The Journeyers, joining nine different circuses for Spangle, and roaming the Balkans for Raptor. Born in Buena Vista, Virginia in 1928, Jennings passed away in 1999 in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, leaving behind a rich legacy of historical fiction and outlines for new novels.
Robert Gleason was Gary Jennings' editor for a number of years. He lives in New York City.
Junius Podrug is an accomplished writer of both fiction and nonfiction. He lives on Cape Cod.
Gary Jennings was known for the rigorous and intensive research behind his books, which often included hazardous travel-exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for The Journeyers, joining nine different circuses for Spangle, and roaming the Balkans for Raptor. Born in Buena Vista, Virginia in 1928, Jennings passed away in 1999 in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, leaving behind a rich legacy of historical fiction and outlines for new novels.
Robert Gleason, author of End of Days, has worked for 40 years in the New York book industry, where he has published many scientists, politicians and military experts. He starred in and hosted a two-hour History Channel special, largely devoted to nuclear terrorism and has discussed the subject on many national TV/radio talk shows, including Sean Hannity’s and Lou Dobbs’s TV shows and George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM. He has also spoken on nuclear terrorism at major universities, including Harvard.
Junius Podrug is the author of Frost of Heaven, Presumed Guilty, and The Disaster Survival Bible. He has experienced two major earthquakes, a flash flood, a blizzard of historical significance, a shipboard emergency, and a crazy with a gun. He considers his paranoia to be heightened awareness and habitually checks where the life vests are stored when boarding a ship and where the fire escapes are located before unpacking in a hotel room. He lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
LAND OF THE MAYA: PRESENT DAY
From a high escarpment just below the cliff’s rim, Cooper Jones studied her team resting on the trail below: Rita “Reets” Critchlow—a fellow archeolinguist—flanked by Hargrave and Jamesy. All three wore dusty fatigues, camouflage T-shirts with the sleeves cut off, heavy boots, and sweat-stained dirty-white baseball caps. Reets’ and Coop’s caps bore the Diablos Rojos del México’s team logo, while Jamesy’s and Hargrave’s caps rooted for the Leones de Yucatán.
Mexico City Red Devils and Yucatán Lions, Coop thought grimly. Right now I feel more like a heat-sick Gila monster.
No shade protected them from the blistering sun, and Jamesy was pulling his shirt off. Both men’s bodies were graphic studies in macabre violence—specifically, knife and gunshot wounds—but Jamesy’s chest and back scars were an unnervingly turned-out oeuvre. The first time she stumbled on him bathing in a stream with his shirt off—and had seen the knife slash diagonally traversing his chest, the barely healed bullet hole entering and exiting his broad right shoulder, and the wide white stripes of some long-forgotten prison hellhole disfiguring his back—she’d understood the kind of men he and Hargrave were.
Not that she’d needed scars to garner that insight. Their eyes said everything—eyes that neither asked nor gave, and stares hard enough to crack concrete.
“Eyes that diced at the foot of the cross,” she’d once told Reets.
“And slogged the long road back from Stalin grad,” Reets had said.
“Hard enough to crack concrete,” Coop had concluded.
Then, of course, there were the mirthless grins that never reached those eyes.
Men she and Reets now trusted with their lives.
… Reets had summed up their situation two nights before:
“We’re hunted by the most sadistic, pistol-whipping, water-boarding mercenaries north of the Rio; by Mexico’s most sadistic, gonad-electrocuting, mordida-stealing, child-pimping federales; by the most sadistic, prodigiously powerful drug cartel in two continents—the Apachureros.”
“You mean we’re hunted by… sadists?” Hargrave asked.
“No,” Reets said, “cloistered nuns.”
“We’re not in some kind of trouble, are we?” Jamesy asked.
“Not unless you call drawing and quartering, hot coals and knives, followed by death of a thousand cuts … trouble.” Reets replied.
“They have their side of it,” Hargrave countered.
Reets nodded her assent. “After all, we’ve stolen some of their homeland’s most historically important, preposterously priceless relics.”
“The ‘2012 Apocalyptic Codices,’ as our intrepid president describes them,” Hargrave said. “You can understand why they want them back and us dead?”
“I blame the president,” Jamesy said. “Some hijo de puta on his staff’s ratting us out.”
“Telling the Apachureros, what those codices are worth and where to find us,” Hargrave said.
“Codices we now control,” Coop said.
“And which our bandit buddies want,” Jamesy said.
“There’s also those dozen or so of their bullet-riddled friends we so carelessly left on our back-trail,” Hargrave threw in.
“Someone in Washington put a bounty on us,” Jamesy said coldly.
“Those Pach want us muy malo,” Hargrave said.
“So they can steal the stuff we stole,” Reets said….
… Well, onward and upward, Cooper Jones thought. At the top of the jungle-shrouded cliff waited a man who she hoped had the last of the Quetzalcoatl codices.
The inestimable Jack Phoenix.
The bravest, cleverest, most outrageous archeologist the gods ever made—his detractors often added psychopathic to those adjectives—Jack Phoenix was also one of Coop’s and Reets’ two closest friends.
“One of our two only friends,” Reets once remarked after eight tequila shooters.
They’d begun pooling resources almost a decade ago and they now trusted him with their most confidential findings. Through a covert communications network of seemingly innocuous weblogs, they passed information critical to their work and careers—so much so, they encrypted their e-mails to keep other archeologists from ripping off their findings.
Phoenix typically sought her and Reets’ help in translating indecipherable pre-Columbian glyphs, knowing that Coop, in particular, was preeminently, almost preternaturally gifted in such linguistics. In exchange, he passed data on to them, describing unpublicized digs and sites, which he himself had often uncovered but kept secret.
His last posts contained information that had shaken them to their souls.
At his Chiapas meeting place—an unexplored site deep in Apachurero country—he believed they’d find their missing codex.
Coop allowed herself another quiet sigh. Working her way up to the cliff’s rim, she pulled herself up over the boulder-strewn, outwardly jutting cliff top. Crawling over rocks, through brush, over fallen trees toward the ruin, she surveyed the terrain, looking for intruders.
Until a blast of harsh laughter stopped her.
Hiding behind a log, she spotted the source—a group of raucously drunken bandits.
She counted at least ten of them.
Grizzled inebriated Apachureros in phony federales uniforms, they were armed to the teeth with automatic weapons and pointing at Jack Phoenix’s partially excavated temple.
Waiting for Jack Phoenix to emerge from the subterranean tunnel entrance he had written them about.
Waiting for their friend.
Excerpted from The 2012 Codex by Gary Jennings.
Copyright © 2010 by Gary Jennings.
Published in September 2010 by A Tom Doherty Associates Book.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Gary Jennings, and I very much wanted to like this book. I just couldn't. I had to stop about 1/3 through for fear of muddying my memories of Gary Jennings' great work (Aztec, Journeyer) with this merest shadow that stakes a claim on his name. This is the newest of several books written by his former editor and another author. These new books state that the stories come from extensive notes and treatments that were found after Jennings' death. The first book in this "Codex" series, isn't altogether awful - "Apocalypse 2012". This one is. The story is thin and disjointed and the characters are cliched. Very little of either evokes a sense of real Mayan history. It's not even worth encapsulating the story. I couldn't care enough to finish and I can't care enough to summarize now. With a heavy sigh, I hope the estate of Jennings lets his name rest now. Publishers should focus on new sales of his classic works rather than attempting these retreads under his name.
Every time I see a new book come out with Gary Jennings as the author, I get more angry. These books are NOT by Gary Jennings and I wish these fools would quit capitalizing on his name! Gary Jennings is my favorite author and these "ghost written" books cannot even compare.
I love Gary Jennings, and I very much wanted to like this book. I just couldn't. I had to stop about 1/3 through for fear of muddying my memories of Gary Jennings' great work (Aztec, Journeyer) with this merest shadow that stakes a claim on his name.This is the newest of several books written by his former editor and another author. These new books state that the stories come from extensive notes and treatments that were found after Jennings' death. The first book in this "Codex" series, isn't altogether awful - "Apocalypse 2012". This one is.The story is thin and disjointed and the characters are cliched. Very little of either evokes a sense of real Mayan history. It's not even worth encapsulating the story. I couldn't care enough to finish and I can't care enough to summarize now.With a heavy sigh, I hope the estate of Jennings lets his name rest now. Publishers should focus on new sales of his classic works rather than attempting these retreads under his name.
Picked this up on a bargain rack and even the $1 spent was too much. Blurb on the back doesn't even fit the story. Two plot lines going on, the modern story was choppy and random and kind of pointless. The historic story was a bit more interesting, but the strings that connect the two are a pretty thin stretch. I've not read any of the previous Jennings books, and after this first taste, I don't expect to see out any more.