Tuesday, 7 September 2010

En tierra de dioses (In the Land of Gods) - Emma Ros, 2009

The race for territory is not just about acres of land. Politicians are pulling the strings in the greed-driven race for natural resources, and for the gold and silver that will pay for the war in the New World from where the conquistadors originate.

An unfortunate turn of events means that Catalan brothers Guifré and Domènech are separated. Guifré is sent to America, and Domènech stays behind in order to progress through the Catholic hierarchy to eventully become bishop of Barcelona.

Through the eyes of Guifré, Emma Ros describes the ancient ways of the Aztecs, their rich and complex religion along with a brief impression of the Náhuatl language. Unfortunately, the descriptions of rituals become over-exaggerated, perhaps based on imprecise descriptions by Bernal Díaz del Castillo and other Hispanic historians of the time.

A small mistake found in the book:  The names “Malinche”, “Malitzin”, “Malinali” or “Doña Marina” all refer to Hernan Cortés’ Indian interpreter and escort, who (along with Jerónimo de Aguilar) helped him to communicate in Mayan and Náhuatl. The book wrongly states that Hernán Cortés himself is “Malinche”.
Emma Ros shows the influence of the Catholic Church during the “unification” of the Kingdom of Spain, where the various autonomies attempt to defend their own economic, cultural and territorial interests.

Keep an eye on: the Náhuatl quotes, the political characters and their shifty steps in the Iberian Peninsula.
Unfortunately the book is not available in English, however, I would recomend it to Spanish speakers and advanced level Spanish students.

ISBN: 978-84-89367-69-2

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