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Tribute of Death
Yaotl series #4

by Simon Levack

      Hot on the heels of his last breathless misadventure, here is hapless slave Yaotl for a fourth dose of gory (and hopelessly entertaining) mayhem. Just when he thinks things have settled down, with Tiger Lily and her father staying with Lord Maise Ear, king of Tetzcoco, Lord Feathered in Black wants him back to catch the murderous Otomi captain; and so the trio has to wend their way back to Tenochtitlan. Yaotl soon finds himself with more troubles to sort out, for his old friend Handy’s wife has just died in childbirth, and didn’t Yaotl used to be a priest?  Called upon to officiate at the funeral, Yaotl finds he might have a murder on his hands as well, and what about the monster that is prowling the waterfront?

These books really are a treat. Not only does Levack win my approval for picking a totally different setting for his whodunits, but he has done his homework to make this surely one of the most entertaining history lessons possible. Pre-Colombian Tenochtitlan is shown warts and all, and this is very much a story about the daily lives of ordinary people and their problems. Yaotl tells the tale, and his matter-of-fact tone gives us an essential window into an unfamiliar culture, where human sacrifice is an everyday thing and people believe in all kinds of gods and spirits to explain the world around them.  Racing in front of this impressive backdrop is the story itself, which hits the ground running and doesn’t let up once. If you have read the rest of the series I can say that this is the same high standard, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Catch these books quick before those rascally Conquistadors arrive and the Aztecs disappear forever...

The Book

August 2007
Trade Paperback
Historical Crime [1517, Mexico]
More at US|| UK
NOTE: Some violence and gory scenes

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007