cover image Aztec Rage

Aztec Rage

Gary Jennings, Junius Podrug, Robert Gleason. Forge, $27.95 (428pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1014-9

Gleason and Podrug continue the late Jennings's Aztec series with this fast-paced, absorbing fourth volume, featuring Spanish-born Don Juan de Zavala, who comes of age in colonial Mexico in 1808. Just as Don Juan expects to claim his inheritance, his dying uncle accuses him of illegitimate, half-Aztec origins, and Don Juan is then unjustly pegged as his uncle's murderer. Prudently hitting the road, Don Juan meets a charming, erudite rogue named Carlos, and together they head for Veracruz. When Carlos is murdered by a Mayan mob, Don Juan returns under Carlos's name to a Spain now erupting in revolt against Napoleon. He joins the resistance there before returning to Mexico. Back in the New World, where he's determined to take back his inheritance, he throws in his lot with rebels agitating to reclaim their independence from Spain. Don Juan has his consciousness raised about European racism towards the ""indio"" population (especially by curvaceous Aztec babe Marina), and the authors paint a vivid picture of the early stages of the bloody war of independence. Just as preoccupied with swashbuckling and womanizing as its predecessors, this latest Aztec novel is likely to be irresistible to fans of the series.