Cantwell concludes his Tollan trilogy with high school time-traveler Peter Collins’ greatest adventure yet.
In previous books in the series, Peter and his friend Rosa traveled to ancient Mexico with the help of the serpent god Quetzalcoatl. Now they journey to Tenochtitlan, the city of the Aztecs, where they must set history on its right course. Tasked with no little feat, Peter and Rosa reach the heart of one of the most contentious times in Mexican history. When a conquistador—known in Spanish as Cortes—comes to the Aztec city, Peter and Rosa help Emperor Montezuma deal with the newcomer. Together they must figure out if the man is Topiltzin—the human reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl—or a stranger bent on conquering the city by force. Eventually, Quetzalcoatl does in fact return, and he brings Peter and Rosa forward in history to the city of Choula, where they try to bring peace to the nascent country of Mexico by convincing the Spaniards that Mexicans deserve love, respect and equality. Cantwell superbly recreates ancient Mexico with colorful descriptions of city buildings, citizens’ attire and specific details like blood in the streets from human sacrifices. Despite offering an admirable message for kids, the trip to Choula feels out of place and more like a mere detour. Additionally, readers are swept away before seeing the fall of the Aztecs, which is a bit disappointing; the end of Topiltzin’s story is merely told to reader rather than shown. Nonetheless, Cantwell brings his trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, as Peter and Rosa realize they’re more than just friends, and Peter finally learns the shocking truth of his parentage.
A thrilling, history-filled adventure.