Gary Jennings is known for his intensive research which often includes rigorous and sometimes hazardous travels-exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for "The Journeyer," joining nine different circuses for "Spangle," and roaming the Balkans to do" Raptor."
This long-awaited sequel to Jennings's bestselling Aztec is another assiduously researched, richly detailed and robust re-creation of a little-known era of ancient history on our continent. Here, Jennings chronicles the life of Tenamáxtli, an Aztec noble who grew up when North America was being colonialized by the Conquistadors of Spain. Tenamáxtli's home of Aztlan was left untouched by the Spaniards, but, having heard of the "white men," Tenamáxtli travels with his uncle (then ruler of Aztlan) and mother to the city of Mexico to see their nemeses and the threat they posed. Upon arrival, the three are herded among a group of other "indios" to witness the burning of a heretic at the stake. Soon thereafter, Tenamáxtli discovers that the condemned man was his father, whom he had never known. Thus begins his quest to find a weakness in the Spanish army, form an army of his own people and eventually defeat the invaders and avenge his father's death. With his vigorous prose and clearly visualized details, Jennings brings readers back in time to that world. Descriptions of landscape and culture, gruesome battle scenes and executions, have convincing immediacy. Showing us the transformation of North America through the eyes of native people, he never portrays them as stereotypically primitive. The only jarring digressions in the book are the strange and numerous sexcapades of Tenamáxtli, including his tenure in two different villages where he's the only capably virile male available for months on end‘and where he takes it as his duty to service and "teach" every woman in town. Overall, however, this is riveting historical fiction written with wonderful force. (Aug.)
"Jennings is the best amoung our historical novelists." --"The New York Times" "First-rate storytelling." --"The San Diego Union-Tribune" "Definitely worth the wait." --"The Tampa Tribune & Times" "Mr. Jennings keeps the pages turning." --"The Dallas Morning News" "If you can't make it to the latest summer blockbuster film, "Aztec Autumn" is the book equivalent." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "Aztec addicts will have to read the sequel." --"The Washington Post"