This book is the debut novel of a new series by author Austin Briggs, and if the title is any indication, I am expecting five books. I certainly hope that this is the case. Briggs crafts a beautifully written story centering around Wasp, the war lord of the Tlaxcalteca, a tribe of the Aztecs. This first book takes place as the various tribes of the Aztecs are warring with each other in the perennial fight for land and mastery within the Aztec nation. At the same time, the Spanish Conquistadors have just landed, which of course will complicate matters.
I have had an ongoing love affair with the Native American cultures since I was in high school, including the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans of Mexico and South America. For my part, I think that Mr. Briggs captured both the mysticism and brutality inherent in the Aztec culture perfectly. He highlighted their belief in mysticism and use of hallucinogenic substances to further out of body experiences without making it seem too modern or 20th century. At the same time, he gave his characters personalities that allowed them to seem "modern" and not at all archaic. The perfect balance, in my opinion.
Being the first book of the series, we were introduced to a lot of characters and ideas in this book that I am excited to see develop as the series progresses. In fact, my only complaint regarding this book was that the ending was rather sudden, definitely leaving me wanting more. I hope the second book comes out soon.