From Publishers Weekly
An ailing Mexican president, two years into his mandated six-year term and manipulated by everyone around him, has banned oil exports to the U.S. and called for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from occupied Colombia. In retaliation, American President Condoleezza Rice has, through the magic of an unimagined technology, shut down all of Mexico's telephone, fax and Internet communications. That's the fanciful but not entirely implausible futuristic backdrop for this corrosive political satire from Fuentes (The Old Gringo
), considered Mexico's leading novelist (and one-time ambassador to France). His darkly comic tale of backbiting, double-crossing, murderous duplicity, sexual scheming and outright assassination is primarily epistolary, and it's a format that suits Fuentes's flowery prose style, though the voices of his various characters tend to blur into one another. Readers with even a smidgeon of familiarity with Mexico's unkempt political traditions will wallow in this caustic indictment. (May 16)
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Carlos Fuentes, author of more than 20 books (including The Old Gringo
and The Death of Artemio Cruz
), knows politics intimately: he served in various government positions in Mexico and as Mexico's ambassador to France in the mid-1970s. The Eagle's Throne
, a brilliantly scathing satire on presidential succession, is among Fuentes's best work. Inspired by Machiavelli's The Prince
and other texts, Fuentes personalizes power plays through letters in which characters scheme, betray, plot murders, reveal their sexual peccadilloes, and succumb to desperation. A few critics thought that the epistolary form distanced the reader from the characters and plot, but overall, few better descriptions of the universal struggle for power exist.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.