Obsidian Sky

Guy Garcia, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (365p) ISBN 978-0-671-86479-8
In this slick but timely work, Garcia ( Skin Deep ) pits a tale of small-fry anthropologists against the backdrop of civil unrest in Mexico, drawing a far-fetched parallel between the two. Brian Mendoza, a highly Anglicized Mexican-American, is a doctoral candidate at Berkeley specializing in Aztec ritual sacrifice. His particular radical theory--on which he hopes to base a career--is that Motecuhzoma, the Aztec king enslaved by Cortes, allowed himself to be debased for some grander purpose. Landing a job at Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology, Mendoza gets sucked into a political vortex, with both his boss and a shady power broker vying for his allegiance. As the country sinks into civil war, Mendoza finds himself in love with a beautiful reporter who has been teaching him about the inequities in Mexican society. Garcia ( Skin Deep ) writes with conviction, although certain passages (particularly the diary entries of a conquest-era Aztec) are unevenly crafted. In addition, the story doesn't resolve any of the social and historical questions it raises. The author knows his subject matter, however, and his use of Aztec mythology lends a particularly exotic hook. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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