Another Review at MyShelf.Com

City of Spies
Aztec Mystery Series, No. 3

by Simon Levack

      Hapless slave Yaotl is back with a third helping of breathless, black humoured, blood-soaked mayhem in this hugely diverting series.  His master Lord Feathered-in-Black plans to sell him to be burned alive as a sacrifice, but as it happens he falls into the hands of his former lover Tiger Lily instead.  She, her rascally old father Kindly, and Yaotl are off to the second Aztec city of Tetzcoco on a mysterious mission, which is going to involve more murders and hair raising escapades than ever...and are those conquistadors who have arrived in the east?

This is another fast paced, standout novel in this wonderfully imaginative series and my verdict of it is a thumbs-up sign and the phrase "business as usual."  Expect the unexpected, as Pre-Colombian Mexico springs to vivid life as you have never seen it before outside of a history book or a very good TV documentary.  Having Yaotl tell the tale in his own words was a masterstroke, for it provides an essential window into a very alien culture, grounds some of the more amazing parts, and gives it an immediacy that it might otherwise lack.  The plot is exciting and tortuous, the sort that you need to carefully read every word of, but my favorite aspect of this series continues to be the Aztecs themselves.  Normally they are not allowed to appear unless carefully chaperoned by those conquistadors, rather as if they are not sufficiently interesting to be allowed out on their own.  Now we can see them in all their feather-bedecked, blood-soaked, flowery glory enjoying the party for as long as possible before those pale faced, bearded men arrive and spoil the party.  Highly enjoyable, and worthy of another award.

The Book

Simon & Schuster
June 2006
Trade Paperback
Historical Crime [1517, Mexico]
More at Amazon UK
NOTE: Violence and human sacrifice

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006