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Inca: The Scarlet Fringe Hardcover – October, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Intrigued by what might have been, novelist Blom has penned a fictional alternate history of the conquest of the Inca Empire. When Atahualpa, son of the powerful Incan emperor, realizes the Spanish conquistadors intend to ravish and destroy his civilization, he attempts to launch a resistance designed to preserve his threatened nation. Unfortunately, factions within his own tribe are determined to discredit the haughty young prince. As Atahualpa works feverishly to save his people from the foreigners, he must also protect himself from jealous and shortsighted enemies. A vividly re-created historical adventure chock-full of colorful characters, unexpected plot twists, and authentic period detail. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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"A vividly re-created historical adventure."--Booklist
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312874340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312874346
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,343,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Thank goodness I picked it up and read the back side.
Mike Varhola
This is an excellent work of alternate history, where Pizarro's Conquistadors do not encounter an Inca empire that has just suffered a civil war.
J. Reynolds
Part of what makes stories like this enjoyable is the exotic sets of customs we learn, and Blom does a very good job of unfolding them for us.
tertius3

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd G. Daub on October 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ignorance is not bliss. At least not in the land of Four Quarters, called Peru by the Conquistadors and the Inca Empire in our history books. Ignorance of the threat personified by the Spanish is what caused Unique Inca Atahualpa to make the mistakes that ended his reign in disaster. Ignorance of Spanish weaponry, ferocity and sheer audacity. Not arrogance, as the editorial review above hints. Although the Incas had reason to be arrogant. They had, after all, crafted an empire covering all of the known lands and nearly all the known tribes. And imposed on the Four Quarters a military and economic rule enlightened by the standards of any century. Racial and religious tolerance, to give two examples.
But they had no idea what they were up against. Well, neither really did the Spanish, but they were willing to make up for that with pitiless violence and reckless bravery. Atahualpa and the Incas made the easy mistake of judging their visitors by their own standards, none of which the Spanish shared. The result was the conquest we have read about before.
But in this book of alternative history, Suzanne Blom corrects some of these problems for the Incas. She gives her principal character the chance to learn about the nature of the Spanish threat before it is too late. The result turns the history we know upside down, although the issue is still in doubt as this first book of the series ends.
And what a fine book it is. Suzanne writes in a clear, spare prose that cuts easily through the mass of details most authors would get bogged down in. Her research is superb, and quite properly hidden behind the scenes and characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sandy807 VINE VOICE on February 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I generally don't waste my time on alternate historical fiction because I want to learn about real historical events in the context of entertaining fiction. But because I had a prior knowledge of the history of Pizarro's conquest of the Incas, I decided it would be worth it to see how the author would change the course of events. A helpful aspect of the book was that each chapter began with a short blurb about what really happened. This helps the reader be aware of where the story deviates into its alternate course.
Most of the time the book was entertaining, not with intense action or drama, but with an unfolding of relationships within the Incan community. Atahualpa, called Exemplary Fortune in the book, is the main character, sent away to a distant part of the kingdom to govern there, since one of his brothers, newly appointed as the emperor, fears being overthrown. This is something that did not really happen.
Much of the story describes how Exemplary Fortune learns to govern his region, and, having taken a captive Spaniard with him, comes to understand the Spanish character, purposes, and fighting style. He uses this to his culture's advantage, teaching his soldiers how to combat Spanish-style, preparing the Incas for possible invasion.
A parallel story involves a young Incan whom the Spaniards called Felipe, and who is taken to Spain by Pizarro, as a companion/servant/trophy. When they return to Peru, Felipe tries his best to find a way to escape and warn his people of the Spanish invasion.
The author does a good job of creating an atmosphere of a foreign culture. The way the Indians speak, their beliefs and interactions are different enough from ours that it creates a feeling of a distant time and place containing a unique people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tertius3 on January 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fascinating and well written alternate history of the conquest of the Inca of Peru by the Spaniards. Allés Blom has attempted something very difficult-writing an empathetic narrative novel about an historically and geographically remote people with an alien mindset-and brought it off.
Part of what makes stories like this enjoyable is the exotic sets of customs we learn, and Blom does a very good job of unfolding them for us. By having two native protagonists-one an Inca prince, the other a nobody taken by the Spanish-we get to see the story from opposite viewpoints. Actually, there's a third view as well, for each chapter begins with a few words on the "true" history of the conquest (1527-1532). Blom skillfully inverts our expectations, perhaps, that the Spanish were civilized and the Inca barbarians or savages. The Inca prince is depicted as highly rational, shrewd, cautious, and engagingly amiable, not easily awed by a bunch of wild and dirty pale invaders. Blom seems to have adopted the French view that the Inca Empire was a socialist utopia, polite and gentle, clean and organized, with food and sex for everyone. (Never mind that you can detect in the background that they indeed have armies, expropriation and kidnapping of entire populations, killing rivals and prisoners, sacrifices, fixed status, and absolute gender discrimination, in what was, after all, a monarchical empire by conquest.) In contrast, the Spaniards are constructed as lacking any socially redeeming qualities: gold-sickened, rowdy, mean, sexist, disloyal, smelly, thieving, fighting, and destructive (all probably true of the Conquistadores, too). No mention is made of the religious fervor of the Spaniards, their skills honed to fever pitch from ridding Spain of the Moors.
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