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Aztec Paperback – March 20, 2007
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“A dazzling and hypnotic historical novel.” ―The New York Times
“Anyone who reads, anyone who still lusts for adventure or that book you can't put down, will glory in Aztec.” ―Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Gary Jennings was known for the rigorous and intensive research behind his books, which often included hazardous travel―exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for The Journeyers, joining nine different circuses for Spangle, and roaming the Balkans for Raptor. Born in Buena Vista, Virginia in 1928, Jennings passed away in 1999 in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, leaving behind a rich legacy of historical fiction and outlines for new novels.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is told both as a set of letters and in the first person, though the first person narrative takes up the majority of the work. The main character's journey takes him through the various strata of Aztec culture and, while I am no student of the Aztec civilization, it is rendered in living color and is really beautiful to behold. The characters are as human as you or I and by the end I was just wanted the story to continue onward.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is engrossing, entertaining, and a hefty number of pages so it should keep you in reading comfort for quite some time.
Mr. Jennings trilogy (Aztec, Aztec Blood and Aztec Autumn) give us a very good understanding about life in pre Colombian life in Mexico, what happened during the conquest, and how life was in the New Spain during the Spanish Colony. Using a very interesting narrative splashed with some sexual stories (if you get offended by those stories, please feel free to skip those; if you like the steamy stories, be sure to mark those to go back and read them at your leisure…)
Back in the early 80’s I meet Dr. Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (a prominent Mexican archaeologist. Who directed excavations at the Templo Mayor) at a book store in Mexico City. After I congratulated him for his great article in Scientific American about The Great Temple of Tenochtitlán (August 1984 ) I asked Dr. Matos if he had read Mr. Garry Jennings’s book Aztec. He said yes!
And I asked his opinion; he said: obviously the fictitious main character Mixtly, never existed; however, seem that Mr. Jennings did a good job researching the Aztecs life and it is full of details of the life at the time.
I can say that Mr. Gary Jennings started my interest in history. Too bad that I never meet him…
I was blown away.
This book made me laugh, cry, ponder, get shocked, get angry and get sad when it was over. I couldn't wait to get home from work every day to to dive into Mixtli's world. I'd fall asleep reading it and sneak in a couple of pages before getting out of bed. I had no idea if it was historically accurate nor did I care.
This book transported me right into that world...and what a magnificent world it was. I was all pleased with myself when places, gods and names became familiar to me and I no longer had to shuffle back to the original introduction to look up who was who.
Like most people, I could've lived without all the gratuitous sex scenes. As a 20 year old girl reading this book for the first time, a lot of it was ridiculous or seemingly physically impossible. But it didn't change the fact that it's one of the best books I've ever read. You can always skip a couple pages to avoid the sex, lol.
Actually, I'd be hard-pressed to say that I've since enjoyed a book as much as Aztec. I reread it every few years, it feels like visiting an old friend.
I so wish that there was a Kindle version. Although I have done it many times, it would be nice not to fall asleep on top of this very large hardcover book,lol. It makes unpleasant dents on your skin. A kindle version would the cherry on top.
Mixtli is a kind of Forrest Gump of the Aztecs, an adventurer of folkloric proportions, experiencing the history and geography of "The One World" often the benefactor of good timing and good fortune. As he makes his way up through the ranks, from scribe to warrior to trader, etc., we get an in-depth look at Aztec culture: it's religious beliefs, violent sacrifices, everyday life, politics, wars, and social structures.
What struck me about the book overall was how light and comedic it felt for historical fiction. Whether this undercuts the serious "history lesson" aspect of it is hard to say. Possibly. But at 1038 pages, it's a welcome addition. It took me a long time to get through this dense book, and I put it down from time to time to read something else, but I was never bored by the story.
Aztec is an epic adventure, an informative and well-researched history lesson, and a good story overall. My one complaint is that the gratuitous sex got old after awhile. It's not a puritanical critique--I just kept feeling like, yeah, yeah, then he gets another chick. And I'd flip ahead a few pages. But otherwise, pretty good.