This book caught my eye because of my fascination with the Mayan due to a prolonged exposure in my youth in Honduras as well as the fact that I was going to be sitting in the Yucatan by a pool for my honeymoon. The resort we were at had statues of Mayan warriors all over the place to emphasis our location. I can report that the Zama Codex did not let me down one bit. Not only did it have locations that I had visited but it clearly evoked the feeling and pathos of Mayan Latin America.

The flashbacks to the time of Zama were extremely well written evoking their cities and temples full of life and intrigue. The author’s description of all the environs contained therein were quite frankly breathtaking. One thing that struck me as interesting is that rather than the patronising slant of say Mel’s “epic” Apocalyptica, there was a clear balance here of all aspects of Mayan culture the good, bad and the downright nasty. There was no overemphasis on the brutal nature of the society, it was merely there in the right proportion.

It is quite obvious that they author did his research and has read the history of the people and their great books like the Popuh Vu. This is not a Hollywood fluff novel with a Mayan “theme”. There is passion and knowledge in there.

Many books that use dual time-lines that switch back and forth manage to end up with a confusing and frustrating muddle. In this book the author manages to do it so the reader knows what is going on all the time. The novel does not drag at any time as is the norm these days. Its quite a taught novel that never drags or fizzles.

The modern plot is not exactly unusual, being a tale of power, greed, vanity and treachery. But it is written in such a way to make it blend perfectly with the Mayan time plot. The characters are believable and well formed. I especially like the bimbo character who plays a central role. Written perfectly one has to wonder if they author has got burned by such a person.

I can highly recommend this book whether you are sitting beside a pool at a resort in the Mayan Riviera sipping Tecate or on your couch on a rainy night in Georgia.

NB: No hearts or other organs were sacrificed to the flames in the writing of this review.

You can get the Zama Codex from Amazon.

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