The time may be ripe for this completely escapist type of picaresque novel, full panoplied with all the elaboration of stage props for Spain of the Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews and the opening up of the riches of the New World through the Conquistadores (Cortes particularly), Yucatan and the Aztee civilization, and Mexico of Montesuma in the years leading up to the coming of the white gods. The story is a strange blend of supersititon, pagan rites and ceremonies, the dawning doubts and questionings on the part of the more advanced -- the early cruelties of the so-called Christian faith -- and woven throughout the tortuous path of romance which eventually brought Xuchitl, daughter of an Aztec King and niece of Montezuma, and Alonzo, son of Spain, together. The book will have a fascination for those who can lose themselves in its rich tapestry of the 16th century Aztec civilization, and a story full of adventure and exotic glamour. It is overlong, the names are difficult, the subplots and counterplots at times take precedence over the parallel streams of the story of Alonzo in Spain and Xuchitl in Yucatan. But for the Anthony Adverse market, starved in recent months, here is the answer.