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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
“Maya Lord” by John Coe Robbins is a superbly realistic rendition of historic events in the context of a fictional tale. Robbins imagines the initial contact between Spanish Conquistadors and the native Maya and Aztec peoples. The story records a realistic interplay over a period of many years, beginning in a small lifeboat of shipwreck survivors drifting with ocean currents, and ending with the virtual eradication of native civilizations of Central America. History tells of the ultimate outcome of this contact; Robbins fills in the blanks with daily-life details as they impact both the native people and the Spaniards. When the Spaniards first landed, the Maya and Aztec populations both were thriving advanced civilizations. What went wrong? Why did the Spaniards feel compelled to eradicate these civilizations? What happened – or didn’t happen – to precipitate horrendous atrocities against the Maya and Aztec people, in the guise of introducing them to Christianity?
I was fascinated and intrigued by this book. To say I “loved” it seems somehow sadistic and xenophobic, so I will simply state that it presented historic events in so compelling a manner that it was difficult to put down the book at bed time. It is not a stretch of the imagination to envision the events related herein as being factual. As is so often the case, there were “good guys” and “bad guys” on both sides. It is truly a crying shame that so many of the good have to die because of the bad. “Maya Lord” will forever rank as one of the all-time best historical fictions it has been my pleasure and honor to read. I strongly recommend this for history buffs, but most especially for those who have been told only that “Cortez conquered the…” local people. There is so much more to the story than what you learned in High School. John Coe Robbins has done a remarkably commendable job of providing the missing details.