Gr 8 Up On February 10, 1519, Hernan Cortes, anxious to avoid arrest, disobeyed orders and set sail from Havana with an army of 500 soldiers to conquer a golden land called Mexico. Marrin has distilled the best from several contemporary accounts of the expedition and condensed it into a palatable form. Under his skilled pen, Cortes and Montezuma become real people. The story begins with a historical perspective of the Aztecs and their origins, followed by the place of the ``conquistadores'' in their world. Readers travel with Cortes through a chronological account of the capture of Tenochtitlan and its reconstruction to the end of his life. Events are told with sufficient detail to add interest without bogging down. Sensitive readers may be bothered by graphic ``blood and guts'' descriptions; yet such description is unavoidable. One minor flaw is that the spellings of some Mexican words and their suggested pronunciations are not standard. The illustrative material is excellent. Many are photographs of artifacts now located in museums scattered throughout the world. Others are drawings that are based on ancient codices. An excellent account of the conquest of Mexico. Dennis C. Tucker, Bethel College Lib . , Mishawaka, Ind.