BOOK REVIEW: Age of Aztec

The latest book in the Pantheon series of SF militarist books by James Lovegrove and this time it is the gods of the Aztecs that are the focus. The British author has had much success with this series of books that all focus on various ancient gods with the whole set being very well received. The previous novels are The Age Of Ra, The Age Of Zeus and The Age Of Odin.

James Lovegrove’s Age of Aztec is a fast paced, action packed, well written, alternative reality where the Aztec were not conquered by the Spanish, but with the help of the Gods, instead take over the world.  Montezuma II, the son of Montezuma has been gifted everlasting life and became the Great Speaker through the blessings of the Aztec Gods. Since Britain, the last of the world’s free nations was subjugated; he has ruled over the whole earth in the name of those Gods, transforming it through controlled volcanic eruptions to a warmer tropical paradise where Macaws have largely replaced pigeons in a jungle covered London.

Enter Stuart Reston.  His wife has sacrificed herself and his son on the London Ziggurat, their hearts torn from their chests in a bid for eternal life in paradise with the Gods. Because he had been on business and feeling he could have done something to prevent her actions, guilt and anger has transformed him into the Conquistador, a lone armoured figure who takes on the priesthood and their Jaguar Warriors in an effort to spur his fellow countrymen to revolt against what he sees as an evil regime.  Stuart has lost whatever faith he had in religion and believes that the Great Speaker is a fake, with a new man replacing the current man whenever the incumbent becomes too old. He is opposed by DCI Malinalli Vaughn, a Jaguar Warrior of Scotland Yard who always gets her man, except in this case she loses Stuart twice when Mayan Death heads interfere.  Mal finds herself treading a fine line, she could lose her life as her superiors have, in blood and pain as a reward for failure, or instead she can catch the Conquistador a final third time and deliver him for righteous punishment.

Interwoven throughout the story is the impending coming of the fifth age of the world, where either the good Quetzalcoatl, leading the other Gods, will return and rule the world in peace and enlightenment or Tezcatlipoca, the God in who’s name the Great Speaker currently rules the world, will triumph and continue the reign of blood, pain and terror, or if neither prevails the world will end in smoke and fire.

Mal chases Stuart to Tenochtitlan, the holy land of the Aztec and the two are delivered into the hands of the Great Speaker where they learn the terrible truth behind their culture, religion and world.  Encountering and overcoming their worse possible fears, Mal and Stuart find themselves greeting the fifth age together.

Lovegrove has created a believable alternative to the history we learnt as children, successfully combining myth, history and fiction, building a thoroughly researched reality, with all the bloodshed, torture and pain you would expect from a world spanning culture that was derived from the Aztec and their pantheon of Gods.  While I sadly felt let down by the ending, on considerable reflection I cannot think of a better way to finish the storyline and I applaud the author for not taking an easy and possibly more popular route.

Overall a great book and a quick read.  I finished it from cover to cover in less than three hours, finding myself unable to put it down.  Yet I have continued to ponder the revelations found within for several days afterwards and plan to reread it soon.

GS Rating 5/5
GS Reporter: Whatotherway, Montoya

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