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Levack, Simon - 'Aztec: City of Spies'
Paperback: 352 pages (Feb. 2007) Publisher: Pocket Books ISBN: 1416502548

This superb adventure story has been meticulously researched by the author. Essentially, it is a tale told from the point of view of the hero named Yaotl (pronounced Yah-ot). Yaotl is a literate slave, as he was, surprisingly, a trainee priest before he became a slave.

His master, at the start of the story, has got fed up with all his past bad behaviour and is punishing him by keeping him in a small cage for about 10 days. Eventually, he is sold and spirited out of the City by his new Mistress, Tiger Lily, under cover of darkness. They walk to another city, Tetzcoco, which is the second city of the Aztecs. His Mistress has a message to deliver to a particular house, but when she visits it, unfortunately, she almost falls over a corpse. Lily is arrested, completely circumstantially, charged with the murder and taken away.

Yaotl and his Mistress's father, who is named Kindly have a desperate race against time to save Lily from certain death. Lily is tortured and at the end there is a very surprising finish. The story is the third in this series by this author and he takes great trouble to make the story intelligible to the modern reader. Some of the names in their original form would be almost impossible to pronounce so he has translated them to their English equivalents, which makes them seem strange but acceptable.

Levack's well-structured narrative engages the reader's mind into believing the historical basis to this excellent story. May there be many more stories about Yaotl and the Aztecs.

Terry Halligan, England
March 2007

last updated 22/03/2007 19:04