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Aztec Mass Market Paperback – August 15, 1997

Book 1 of 5 in the Aztec Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A first-class storyteller....Mr. Jennings has achieved true distinction." --Atlantic Monthly

"Anyone who reads, anyone who still lusts for adventure or that book you can't put down, will glory in the Aztec." --The Los Angeles Times

"Aztec is so vivid that this reviewer had the novel experience of dreaming of the Aztec world, in Technicolor, for several nights in a row." --The Chicago Sun-Times

"The scope of the book includes the gallantry and barbarism, sex and nobility, intelligence and folly, of historical fiction.....[The reader] is amply entertained and caught up in fascinating history." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Remarkable...It conveys with ferocious yet often lyrical force the texture of life in a civilization at once intensely sophisticated and, by our standards, utterly barbaric....A splendidly colorful, wholly convincing re-creation of a vanished culture." --Cosmopolitan


A first-class storyteller....Mr. Jennings has achieved true distinction.

(Atlantic Monthly)

Anyone who reads, anyone who still lusts for adventure....will glory in the Aztec.

(Los Angeles Times)

So vivid that this reviewer had the novel experience of dreaming of the Aztec world, in Technicolor.

(The Chicago Sun-Times)

[The reader] is amply entertained and caught up in fascinating history.
(San Francisco Chronicle)

Remarkable...A splendidly colorful, wholly convincing re-creation of a vanished culture.
(Cosmopolitan)

About the Author

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.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812521463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812521467
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (361 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GARY JENNINGS was known for the rigorous and intensive research behind his novels, which often included 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.

Customer Reviews

I cringe when I call him a character, because after reading this book, he feels more like a friend.
CT
With regard to violence, you will find the expected Aztec religious sacrifices -- but I assure you, these are the LEAST horrifying instances of violence in the story.
Craig K. Jackson
This book not only is educational, but very entertaining by the way it is so well written and researched by Mr. Jennings (Which took him 12 years to write).
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 120 people found the following review helpful By RMurray847 VINE VOICE on February 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My headline just about says it all. I won't get into details, but let's just say this book HAS IT ALL. Blood (lots and lots and lots of it, both in war and in human sacrifices), sex (lots and lots of it, mostly kinky) and more plot twists than you can shake a stick at.

But the culture explored is absolutely fascinating. The Aztecs are loving shown here, in all their alien rituals. We are repelled by their way of life, yet Jennings makes us understand totally where they are coming from, and we begin to accept that way of life as a perfectly viable one (not one I'd care to live in, but the people are not shown as cowering in fear either). When the Europeans finally invade and make life miserable for the Aztecs (and Incas and Mayans), we are totally sympathetic with their plight and totally engrossed in our major character. If you like historical novels, there is no way you won't eat this thing up, unless you're squeemish.

If you don't usually enjoy them, give this one a try. It is far superior to most, in my opinion. You'll learn things you never knew (I guarantee it) and you'll love it.

One word of warning...it's a long, long book, and the first 75 pages or so are a bit slow going. Stick with it...the remaining 1000 pages or so will fly by, and you'll be sad when it's all over. (Thank God there is a sequel...actually two sequels, but the third book was not written by Jennings, and is a travesty, I think.)
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116 of 126 people found the following review helpful By CT on October 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I cannot say it is the best book ever written, for I have not read every book. But I say that if I had, Aztec would probably be the one I'd remember most dearly.
In other words, you're not a book-lover if you haven't read Aztec. It will shock you, it will make you laugh, it will take you close to tears. It's the most complete literary work I've ever come across and it will probably keep this title for a long time.
The main character is incredibly human, even more human than some people I know. I cringe when I call him a character, because after reading this book, he feels more like a friend. He makes mistakes, not stupid mistakes, but mistakes we would make if we were in his position. The people that he shares his life with are also noteworthy. Even Hernan Cortes isn't demonized here. The Spanish are noted as real people. As people with flaws, which are criticised with heavy doses of irony and sarcasm.
I love reading books, but the biggest book I've read before Aztec was only 450 pages long. This is 1039. If you want to start reading long books (it's a step bigger than I imagined) than Aztec would be the perfect kind. The book is huge not because it has overly-long-descriptions. It's long because it's a person's life, and a very long and busy life I might add.
I plan on finding a hardcover edition of this book. Just so I can keep it on my shelf, unread and in perfect condition. This is better entertainment than any other kind of media can give.
Buy this book. Read it. Love it. Share it.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Gaijin de Moscu on December 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a student of Mexican history, an aspiring writer and a linguist by education, I'm possibly among the tougher readers out there. As a matter of fact, I rated the sequel to this book at 1 star out of 5... :)

So here is my opinion, take it or leave it. I believe this work deserves the highest mark.

Key Positives:

- Specific, visual writing style that leaves no doubt about what the writer is saying. The quality of writing is well above average: the words are chosen with care, the scenes are complete, the text is easy to read. G. Jennings immediately created the 'style' of the book, unique and engaging.

- Compelling main character. Mixtli is a joy to get to know. He's one of the richest literary personages that I know of. The insights into his nature are deep and disturbing.

- Breadth of research and excellent presentation of it. The sites, smells, sensations of the time are reproduced with outstanding level of detail.

- "Show don't tell" excellence: I forgot about time... the book is so visually and sensually compelling that at times I had an impression of watching a movie rather than reading a book. Or having a dream...

- Tight plot. Some folks seem to expect a fast-moving plot from this book which is probably a 'milieu' (location) book rather than a commercial, event-driven story. The plot is the life itself. Every scene is in its place. Even the most disgusting scenes move the plot forward in more than one way. Superb planning and execution!

- Honesty and bravery in covering even the most unpleasant details.

Key Negatives:

- Some characters do get repetitive.
Read more ›
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on May 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you want a novel that has everything (adventure, history, sex, story-line, characterization, debunking of myths, humor, horror, human insight, etc.) this is IT! Jennings novel has to rank as one of the all-time stories for story's sake. Echoing other reviewers here, I was absolutely ticked off that the story had to come to a close. Unfortunately, I was equally disappointed by Jennings' subsequent tries at emulating this storytelling feat (particularly Aztec Autumn - what a bust!) The author apparently used up all his creative powers in constructing and researching this novel. Yet if I could have done even half as good a job as Jennings did in writing Aztec, my life would have been heroic! This is as close to creative genius as any historical novelist has come to in our era. I am not prone to hyperbole in my reviews, but if you haven't yet read this book, you are missing out on one of the true treats of contemporary fiction. Order it, now!
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