Aztec is a book that was initially published in 1980 written by Gary Jennings. This book depicts the Aztec civilization before and after the arrival of the conquistadors. The book is written from the perspective of a 60 year old Aztec man named Mixtli that was captured by Hernando Cortes in Tenochtitlan. He became a translator for him to communicate to the Indigenous people. The book is based off of Mixtli interesting life narrative he tells to the catholic bishop after he is captured. His life story gives the perspective of when he was a young boy all the way to becoming a old man. He has many stories of heroism, failure, and triumph in his life as he had many occupations and relationships that ended tragically. The theme of this book was to communicate History in a expressive, meaningful way for people to truly understand the culture and past of the Aztec Empire. Another theme demonstrated in this book was the rise and fall of the Aztecs which showed how sudden and unfortunate this event was written from a first person perspective.
A cultural aspect I learned from this book was how the Aztecs held a lot of value for their warriors. Starting from a young age, Mixtli was constantly told to become a soldier of the Aztecs. He eventually became one and earned high respect and recognition in his community. Something historical I learned was that the aztecs used Picture writing. This is something Mixtli taught himself at a very young age and it has a very distinct form from any other writing. What I found interesting in this book was the total change of culture from the Aztecs to the spaniards. The Aztecs’ beliefs were very different and they found different values in many things that the Spaniards found worthless. For example, the Aztecs highly regarded their Gods before anything and were not at all materialistic. The Spaniards motivation for conquering the Aztecs was the search of gold and this a concept the Native people did not understand.
A Historical accurate thing in the book was the conquering of Tenochtitlan done by Hernando Cortes. The fall of the the Aztecs was factual and included the outbreak of smallpox and the how the Spaniards were welcomed at first and then rebelled. The main character, Mixtli was not historically accurate and did not exist. The author made him represent an Aztec person that saw a lot of things in life such as a major change in the course of history to create a first hand experience in the story. This helped shape the understanding and true culture of the Aztecs. It showed how he was treated as a kid to an adult really giving off the true nature of the Aztec culture.
I did like this book because I enjoy reading about History. The author clearly did a tremendous amount of research on the History of the Aztecs so the book was very well done. It was very interesting digging deep inside how the Aztec society was structured and worked. The story was very factual how they lived and could be believed as a real story. Using a fictional main character, Mixtli, was a great way of shaping the history in a very fascinating way.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy historical fiction because it is very well done, entertaining, and informative. There is a lot to be learn from this book and it teaches history. I learned more about the culture from reading this book and I think others will learn this too. The book was very good and it was very interesting. Others will learn about the History of the Conquest of Tenochtitlan.