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Aztec Paperback – 16 May 2006

32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Forge (16 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317506
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 5.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A first-class storyteller....Mr. Jennings has achieved true distinction." --"Atlantic Monthly" "Anyone who reads, anyone who still lusts for adventure or that book you can't put down, will glory in the "Aztec."" --"The Los Angeles Times" ""Aztec "is so vivid that this reviewer had the novel experience of dreaming of the Aztec world, in Technicolor, for several nights in a row." --"The Chicago Sun-Times" "The scope of the book includes the gallantry and barbarism, sex and nobility, intelligence and folly, of historical fiction.....[The reader] is amply entertained and caught up in fascinating history." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "Remarkable...It conveys with ferocious yet often lyrical force the texture of life in a civilization at once intensely sophisticated and, by our standards, utterly barbaric....A splendidly colorful, wholly convincing re-creation of a vanished culture." --"Cosmopolitan" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gary Jennings is known for his intensive research which often includes rigorous and sometimes hazardous travels-exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for "The Journeyer," joining nine different circuses for "Spangle," and roaming the Balkans to do" Raptor." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Martin VINE VOICE on 7 Dec. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gary Jennings's Aztec concerns the life of one individual man, his rise from humble beginnings to a man of wealth and influence, in ancient meso-America. If this sounds like an animated Disney film, I should mention that there are copious amounts of blood, sex and violence in this book.

I am generally not given to reading a lot of fiction but I was hugely impressed with this piece of work. Mr Jennings has created a truly memorable novel, filled with colourful characters and eventful set-pieces, a tapestry of romance, adventure, travel and history. It is hard to over-sell this particular book.

After visiting some of the places mentioned in this book, including the Aztec pyramids and reading some of the relevant history, I have the greatest respect for what Gary Jennings has achieved. The story is rich and evocative, the life of a meso-American civilisation at its peak is vibrantly brought to life; the clothing, the food, the rituals and the architecture, the wars and the human sacrifice. The introduction of the Spanish conquistadors and their subsequent destruction of a rich culture is painfully authentic.

As written above, I am not given to much fiction but this book was simply stunning. And no singing animals.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Nov. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I First read this book about 3 or 4 years ago and it has left a profound effect on me. Since then Ihave read it now and again. For a book about a culture I know little or nothing about and a time which is so alien to me, it is amazing that 3 years and many books later it remains my favourite
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It tells the tale of a young boy brought up in a middle class family only a few years before Cortez invades, the tragic destruction of his family through the social climbing schemings of his mother, his own turbulant personal life and his climb to extream wealth. His life is is forever changed by the berayal of his best friends, he stands helpless as he witnesses the death of all he people loves, the brutal and measured revenge he exacts and how he was unwittingly intrinsic in the fall of the empire he served. This story looks at the rise and fall of one of the most advanced cultures in the world at that time, the millions that made it's society, it's mythology and laws and warriors and how it was all brought to it's knees by a handful of reluctant conquistadores and the untimely introduction of smallpox.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Gothorp VINE VOICE on 25 Nov. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a monumental novel in length. It takes some commitment as a reader to start this very detailed work that reportedly took Gary Jennings ten years to produce.

The original publication was in 1980, just nineteen years before Jennings died at the age of 70.

The book follows the rise and fall of Mixtli, an Aztec who saw the coming of the Spanish and the downfall of the Mexica. Starting the story as a lowly son of a quarry attendant, Mixtli rises to become a man of influence. There is quite a lot of humour in the novel as Mixtli tells his uninhibited tale of his sexual activities combined with his erudite observations of what life was like in the Aztec empire before the arrival of the Spanish.

More horrific (and graphically described) are some of the religious ceremonies involving human sacrifice and Jennings explores how to an Aztec this was accepted and how to the Spanish this was repulsive. A view we would of course share, but Jennings does not miss the irony of this coming from the invading Spanish Christians considering it was they who triggered the genocide of the entire Aztec culture, and indeed they who happily devised novel ways of murdering Aztecs who broke their newly imposed rules.

Here then are some good factual based stories that make it fairly easy to digest some ancient Central American history. The actions of Cortes, appear to me, to be pretty much as they are known in historical fact. The Spaniards are depicted along the same lines as described in the `Black Legend', i.e. `cruel', `intolerant' and `fanatical', so probably not the book for you if you are an ardent Spanish nationalist.

If you're a fan of historical fiction, then you must read this. There is only one historical novel that I have read that is comparable in depth and scope and that is the brilliant This Thing of Darkness by the late Harry Thompson.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B Woods on 15 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
From the first few pages of this book I was hooked. I had imagined this book to be a general story about an Aztec, but was I mistaken. There is nothing general about this book. The story follows the path of an Aztec called Mixtli and boy does he have a story to tell. I never knew where the story was going to take me next. I found at times I wanted to turn away as it is a bit gruesome in some areas but then being excited about reading the next page to see what happened. The story throughout the whole book maintains it credability. When you are reading the book you can feel all the emotions, etc that Mixtli has. You are there with him, seeing what he seeing, feeling what he feels, etc. Throughout this whole book I could never imagine how it was going to end. I had never seen this ending coming. I was so surprised and shocked. I highly recommend this book. It is an experience that you will never forget. The way the author has written the book is amazing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 1 Dec. 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you want a novel that has everything (adventure, history, sex, story-line, characterization, debunking of myths, humor, horror, human insight, etc.) this is IT! Jennings novel has to rank as one of the all-time stories for story's sake. Echoing other reviewers here, I was absolutely ticked off that the story had to come to a close.
Unfortunately, I was equally disappointed by Jennings' subsequent tries at emulating this storytelling feat (particularly Aztec Autumn - what a bust!) The author apparently used up all his creative powers in constructing and researching this novel. Yet if I could have done even half as good a job as Jennings did in writing Aztec, my life would have been heroic!
This is as close to creative genius as any historical novelist has come to in our era. I am not prone to hyperbole in my reviews, but if you haven't yet read this book, you are missing out on one of the true treats of contemporary fiction. Order it, now!
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