HERNANDO DE SOTO: Knight of the Americas by Miguel Albornoz

HERNANDO DE SOTO: Knight of the Americas

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A fiery biography of a fiery character, the explorer Hernando De Soto, who traveled as Pizarro's second-in-command for the conquest of the Incas, and then went on to explore North America from Florida outwards, finally discovering the Mississippi just prior to his death from malaria in 1542. Albornoz, Ecuador's UN Ambassador and author of Orellana, writes this in the style of a novel of chivalry, taking as his guide the popular 16th-century work, The Virtuous Knight, Amadis of Gaul. All the familiar details are here of De Soto's valor and of his long-held love for Isabel back in Spain; of how he returned from the Incan Empire richer by some four and a half million dollars to marry her; of his return to chart what now constitutes some 10 states of our Southern region, only to be dropped to his final rest in a makeshift coffin into the Father of Waters that he had discovered. With the details comes an interesting array of characters: Balboa, Amerigo Vespucci, Pizarro, Atahualpa, and others. While Albornoz tells of their adventures in an admiring, chivalrous tone, he is not adverse to demonstrating the flaws of the explorers--e.g., their abject cruelty to many of the natives, even to those who were most forthcoming. A well-done testament to one of the more noble knights-errant.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1986
Publisher: Franklin Watts