A stupendous book, against a huge canvas, and a book that for all time, will tell the story of the disintegration of the Aztec Empire through its own excesses and the destructive forces of European civilization at the hands of Hernando Cortez. Interwoven with myriads of lesser and greater things, the story of the slave girl, Marina, who loved Cortez and bore him children and went with him from Yucatan as interpretor, is a bright thread. Hundreds of characters cross the pages, Mexican and Spanish, rivalling each other in excesses of lust and passion and cruelty and vice, with now and then a redeeming incident of human kindness. The glories and the beauties and the extravagances of the Aztec civilization are here -- and the crumbling of it all before the fanatical advances of the Spaniards. One feels that brought together in this one book must be all the authentic as well as all the imagined and the legendary material of that period, a blot on the history of civilization. Not a book to be taken at a gulp -- but a book to be read a bit at a time. Essential for public libraries. A book for sales not rentals.