The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

C. M. Mayo, Author
C. M. Mayo, Author . Unbridled $26.95 (430p) ISBN 978-1-932961-64-5
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Paperback - 430 pages - 978-1-936071-61-6
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Epic in scope, Mayo's impressively researched novel set in mid-19th century Mexico City mines the true story of the short turbulent reign of the archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Hapsburg, who was made emperor of Mexico in 1864. Childless and desperate for an heir, the emperor makes substantial monetary promises to the parents of a young boy named Agustin. With much trepidation, they agree to give over the boy, who becomes a pawn in a custody battle that begins when Maximilian adopts the two-year-old Agustin with the hopes of having him inherit the throne. Agustin's American mother, Madame de Iturbide (née Alice Green), soon becomes dissatisfied with the arrangement and pleads with Maximilian to return her son. Maximilian has Alice deported, which sets off an international brawl. Maximilian finally concedes as Mexico devolves “into bankruptcy and lawlessness” and Maximilian's wife, Carlota, becomes increasingly “unmoored.” Lengthy, expository, meandering and grandiose, Mayo's reanimation of a crucial period in Mexican history should satisfy history buffs and those in the mood for an engaging story brimming with majestic ambition. (May)

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