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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollercoaster Read
Before I read this book, my knowledge of the Inca Empire was limited to a vague notion that they once had a great civilization that was quickly destroyed by a small bunch of Spaniards. I had no idea of the blood curdling drama that awaited me. Kim MacQuarrie's book is a riveting, thrill a minute tale written with such a skillful combination of elegant restraint and high...
Published on 18 July 2007 by S. Walshe

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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, worrying conjecture
First things first, this is a very well written and thoroughly absorbing account of Pizarro's conquest of the Incan Empire bookended with the archaeological importance of remaining Incan sites such as Macchu Picchu.

It is page turning stuff as this most incredible story unfolds like a fantasy novel and yet of course this all happened...sort of.

My...
Published on 16 Sep 2009 by J. Duducu


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollercoaster Read, 18 July 2007
By 
S. Walshe (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Days of the Incas (Hardcover)
Before I read this book, my knowledge of the Inca Empire was limited to a vague notion that they once had a great civilization that was quickly destroyed by a small bunch of Spaniards. I had no idea of the blood curdling drama that awaited me. Kim MacQuarrie's book is a riveting, thrill a minute tale written with such a skillful combination of elegant restraint and high stakes immediacy that I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter and on some occasions, (like when Manco Inca first mobilized the Incas into rebellion to name but one example), I had to remind myself to exhale. Right up to the end, I was willing the Incas to prevail, all the while knowing that their days were numbered. The fact that all the issues it so painstakingly and beautifully brings to the surface are scarily relevant to today's world does the book no disservice either. Read it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Days of the Incas, 21 Oct 2010
An incredibly well written piece of literature. Easy to read, historically informative and an amazing insight into the lives of the Spanish Conquistadors and the Incas, I felt I was there! (Reading this book had the same effect on me as watching 'Braveheart' - you always wana support the underdogs) Unbelievably powerful,stirring and evocative. The story contained inside this books cover has been researched mind bogglingly well, I can only imagine the painstaking hours involved in the creation of perfection that is this book. Buy it now! It's exciting, inspirational and awesome!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the Incas to life, 22 Jun 2012
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There are a LOT of Inca ruins in Peru and I heard more than one person comment "They're all more or less the same" but when you read this book each building really comes to life. Imagining the Incas defending Sacsaywaman against the Spanish, or the walls of Qoricancha lined with gold makes the whole place so much more interesting and exciting! I definitely recommend this book to anyone even vaguely interested in the Incas and definitely anyone planning to visit the sacred valley in Peru. But finish it before you go, I only got 2/3 of the way through and hence missed out on visiting several of the ruined cities that I'm now desperate to go back for!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didnt want to put it down!, 14 Mar 2012
By 
Michael Vargas (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I studied History for my degree so I have a natural interest in the subject. I generally prefer my books to be informative and most importantly, accurate. I had no knowledge of Incan history, so what I was after was a basic overview of how the Spanish ended up in South America and how they were involved in the Inca's destruction. You have to remember that the sources used for any book would be translated several times and are somewhat biased in favour of the conquistadors own purposes therefore, regardless of whatever book you buy you wont get an entirely accurate account of the events. I found this book to be really exciting, I really found it hard to put it down. The author makes the events really easy to follow and presents them in an exciting fashion, its certainly not a dull read. Those who are more educated in the area may find inaccuracies and question if events unfolded in such a way. However, if you are looking for just a general overview that is easy to follow, with a bit of excitement then this is the book for you
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 May 2011
This is one of the most informative ancient history books I've ever read. It reads like a novel and is so discriptive that it feels as though you are there, witnessing the atrocities and wishing something could have been done to change the overall outcome. I couldn't put it down and actually felt quite sad when I came to the end.
An excellent read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid rendering of Inca fortunes and misfortunes, 25 Jun 2010
By 
Geoff Buck (Newton Abbot, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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MacQuarrie conjurs up a vivid history of the Inca Empire and its conquest by the Spaniards. Rather like Bible stories, he has used his imagination to paint a vibrant picture of the events of the time; unlike the Bible stories he has more factual evidence upon which to base them. For those who have visited Lima, Cuzco and the surrounding areas it is easy to envisage the unfolding tale; indeed, many of the sites are now visible and visitable.
The book could have done with a few more maps and illustrations, but if read in conjunction with "The Illustrated History of the Incas" by David M Jones, then all will fall into place.
The book is very readable and is up-to-date with the latest archeological evidence and interpretations. Highly recommended; read it before you go there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic and thrilling, 26 Feb 2009
By 
Mauritius (Cotswolds, UK) - See all my reviews
It has always surprised me that no-one with a Hollywood-sized budget and a thirst for action has ever committed to telling the story of the Conquest of the Incas. I sincerely hope that with the release of this book (that will surely supersede all others on the topic for the foreseeable future) the penny will drop.

Kim MacQuarrie's book is a breathless iteration of this epic tale, surpassing even John Hemming's landmark 1970's rendition by drawing on some alternative sources and taking a slightly more imaginative angle (although there are notable - and necessary - similarities in the first half). The depth and professionalism of the research is unquestioned, the fluidity of the language enviable.

It has become a little cheap, lazy and hackneyed to refer to any episode in history as `The Greatest Story Ever Told', yet all - all - of the ingredients are undoubtedly here: seemingly insurmountable odds; immense clashes of culture and technology; treachery; shifting allegiances; unrequited love and its occasional terrible repercussions; soaring mountains and steamy jungles; and not least the giddy excitement of lost cities being rediscovered. It takes a great deal of skill to render this into a tight, uncompromising narrative whilst simultaneously displaying passion and fairness in your subject. MacQuarrie succeeds superbly.

The exotic location and almost alien outlook on life being displayed by Incas and Conquistadors alike suggest something quite other-earthly about this breathtaking saga, and you do have to keep reminding yourself that its true - no, there is no ethereal MiddleEarth magic on display here, although the story is no less grand as a result. It is the emotions and scale on the episodes described, so brilliantly captured by the author's evocative language, that make this tale that much more sweeping and ultimately heartbreaking than Cortes' sly but equally devastating invasion of the Aztec empire not long before.

This heartily recommended tome is only partly a book for history lovers; the depth of the story and the quality of its telling transcend the fact that it happens - incredibly - to be true.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, worrying conjecture, 16 Sep 2009
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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First things first, this is a very well written and thoroughly absorbing account of Pizarro's conquest of the Incan Empire bookended with the archaeological importance of remaining Incan sites such as Macchu Picchu.

It is page turning stuff as this most incredible story unfolds like a fantasy novel and yet of course this all happened...sort of.

My one major issue is to bring this story so vividly to life, there is too much conjecture. True what Kim Macquarrie assumes is reasonable but it is still made up by the author rather than historical fact. Too often we are told what people are thinking in the situation or how some one delivered a line and then leapt onto their horse to ride into the afternoon sun. Evocative stuff but blatantly made up and while in this book the conjecture is never unreasonable too often in "history" books these lapses of good historical writing lead to biased and worryingly incorrect books that people read as "fact".

So have a read and enjoy, just be aware of the literary gloss.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Peruvian History Revealed, 20 Jun 2007
By 
Dr. Betsy Hesser (Jackson, Wyoming USA) - See all my reviews
I absolutely loved this book. Everyone in my family loved this book. It is a rip-roaring adventure that explains an important piece of South American history in a way that captivates the attention at the same time that it makes a particular period in history understandable. How could a small group of illiterate Spanish explorers conquer an empire of 10 million people? This is a real-life example of the ideas proposed in the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel." Although I previously visited many of the important sites in Peru mentioned in the story, I now want to return in order to see those places from the vantage point of what I learned in "The Last Days of the Incas." This book makes history come alive and the lessons contained therein have particular relevance in today's world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping insight, 1 Mar 2011
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This is a combination of a novel and a scientific history textbook. Inevitably with this type of book there is a lot of interpretation that has to be taken with a pinch of salt but it does make the book so readable. I did not realise how much impact it had on me until I was reading other books on the subject that were less inspiring and where I felt that Kim MacQuire had argued the case better.I strongly recommend this book.The Last Days of the Incas
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The Last Days of the Incas
The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie (Hardcover - 28 Jun 2007)
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