Review of Age of Aztec – Book 4 in the Pantheon series by James Lovegrove

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The date is 4 Jaguar 1 Monday 1 House; November 25th 2012 by the old reckoning. The Aztec Empire rules the world, in the name of Quetzalcoatl – the Feathered Serpent – and her brother gods. The Aztec reign is one of cruel and ruthless oppression, fuelled by regular human sacrifice. In the jungle-infested city of London, one man defies them: the masked vigilante known as the Conquistador.  Mal Vaughan, one of the Jaguar Warriors, who police affairs in London, is determined to track down and put a stop to the Conquistador – a determination honed by the knowledge that if she doesn’t deliver, her life will be forfeit…

ageofaztecThis is the fourth offering in Lovegrove’s wonderful series that has humans locked in a struggle with various unreasonable deities from different periods in history. As one review commented, Lovegrove is vigorously carving out a godpunk subgenre. So, the question has to be, does Age of Aztec live up to the high standard set by previous offerings in the series?

We follow the exploits of the Conquistador as he rebels against the might of the Aztec Empire for his own reasons – a personal tragedy that sums up, for him, all that is wrong with the current regime. Britain had been one of the last countries on the planet to fall under Aztec domination and as a patriot, the Conquistador – or Stuart Reston, to use his everyday identity – yearns for the country’s lost freedom. But as the chase between Stuart and Mal intensifies, the unique twists that Lovegrove has made his own in this series transform this book into something far cleverer and more memorable.

Readable and engrossing, this page-turner has its own share of dark humour as well as well-rounded protagonists that we care about. Lovegrove’s smart intellect shines through his prose and shows in the pin-sharp perfection of his pacing and plot structure. The startling backdrop – London simmers in equatorial heat as monkeys and creepers infest the streets with ziggurats littering the landscape – is well described without holding up the action. Which is just as well, because this book starts with a bang and doesn’t let up till the final, shocking climax.

As you may have gathered, I really enjoyed this book – it’s one of my outstanding reads of the year, so far. But don’t take my word for it – grab a copy and allow yourself to be whisked up by the adventure. You’ll be thanking me if you do…
10/10

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