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 Despite the unwieldy title, devotees of fantasy should be thrilled with this newly discovered novel (left unpublished at the time of Morris's death in 1939) by one of the founders of the genre. Morris (The Fates of the Princes of Dyfed, Book of the Three Dragons) departs from the Welsh mythology of the bulk of his work, drawing here instead on the legends of pre-Colombian Central America. Huitznahuacan is a peaceful, innocent city nestled in a hidden valley, whose citizens are as ignorant of war and strife as they are of the world outside. Recently, however, portents have indicated that the coming year will bring momentous events, perhaps even the reincarnation of the god Quetzalcoatl. Meanwhile, the Toltec Topiltzin, emperor of the vast northern realms, has heard of Huitznahuacan and set out to add it to his empire. Mistaken identities, miscommunication, and an evil high priest threaten the pacifistic Huitznahuatecs' attempts to stave off the invasion. Morris does well in portraying the Huitznahuatecs not as childlike in their innocence but as possessors of an ancient, mystical wisdom; indeed, in the early going, the pace is slowed by lengthy flights of ecstatic imagery. But the sure hand of the master fantasist rarely falters. For all the unpronounceable Nahuatl names, this newfound book is a treat, a welcome change from the standard fantasy settings, with engaging characters, a wealth of wonders, and an inner wisdom as rare as it is profound.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-85264-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1992