Cuauhtemoc: Descent of the Sun Priests continues d l davies’ young adult/adult fantasy series set in 16th century South America just as Europeans would have begun their efforts to plunder the Mayan Empire. In the first book, Cuauhtemoc: Descending Eagle, davies concentrated primarily on establishing characters and setting. In this sequel, the author begins changing history. As he states on the cover: “this is not a tale of what was, but rather a story of what might have been if I had been in charge of that era.”
When this episode begins, Cuauhtemoc sets out to deliver messages to the Mayan emperor in the capital. After a spectacular landing on the palace roof, the 12-year-old birdman quickly becomes a favorite of the elderly leader and his three sons, soon being adopted as the fourth prince of Maya. Over the next four years, Cuauhtemoc aims to defeat pirates who threaten the empire and end the corrupt sun priests’ practice of human sacrifice; sets up the world’s first air force, beds several beautiful girls and advances medical science. Look for more sex and violence (though not particularly graphic), as the young hero goes through puberty and many bad guys lose their heads or are fed to the sharks.
Just as Cuauhtemoc has matured in the second book, so has the author’s style. The grammatical errors that plagued Descending Eagle are nearly absent here, and the action scenes are much more intense.
Some readers may be put off by the nearly misogynistic depiction of the era. (Women are not only second-class citizens, they seem happy about it.) In addition, there are no shades of grey; every character is either totally good or evil to the core. Still the saga is captivating enough that readers will want to learn what happens next. The series’ third book, Cuauhtemoc; Descendant of the Jaguar, is already out, and a fourth is promised.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.