Of The Lords
of the stand-out books from last year was Simon Levack’s darkly
comic, wonderfully original whodunit set during the final years
of the Aztecs.
the slave is back for a second outing, following on directly from
the other book and proving that, just like Jack Bauer, he can make
a day last a hell of a long time. This is good news for us readers
though, so prepare for another bloodstained feast of murder and
Once again it is perhaps almost immaterial what
the book is actually about, as reading about the Aztecs is so utterly
absorbing. We don’t very often get the chance to do this,
and as Yaotl stumbles around the city looking for clues and narrating
the story (always a good touch) he is telling us all about the world
he inhabits in a way that never comes across as a lecture.
is looking for his son Nimble who is wanted for murder, and trying
to keep ahead of some psychopathic soldiers and his unpleasant master
Lord Feathered-in-Black who seems keen to see him suffer. It is
a tortuous plot that keeps the reader on their toes, and which revolves
around the world of the Aztecs’ most prized craftsmen and
women, the feather workers. This is an exciting, breathless tale
full of the meticulously described intricacies of a very alien way
of life along with plenty of plot, some lively characters.
think it will also be one of the stand-out whodunits for 2005 as
well. I just hope that those rascally Conquistadors aren’t
going to appear too soon though because there are plenty of other
books around that tell us about those, aren’t there? For the
present sink your teeth into this treat. Highly enjoyable.
Crime [1517, Mexico]
Rachel A Hyde