Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: War God by Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock's War God is a novel about Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, taking over Central America in the 16th century.  Although fiction, the author tells most of the story through the eyes of the Mexicas, Aztecs, Mayans, and Tlascans in the 1520s.  

The book begins with Montezuma tripping out on mushrooms, praying to the god Hummingbird, and sacrificing thousands of people on his pyramid.  He is preparing for the return of Quetzalcoatl and wants to be ready.  Two of the main characters, Malinal and Tozi, escape to influence history.  
Cortes sails out of Cuba with a few hundred men under bad circumstances.  He brings a priest along who rapes and murders children.  Other generals and captains help him first take over Ponchantan by using cannons and guns which the Mayans believe are supernatural powers.  They defeat tens of thousands of people with advanced weaponry.  Disappointed the city doesn't have much gold, they loot nearby towns and come up with almost nothing.  They find their way to Tenochtitlan and take over instantly.  Montezuma believes Cortes is Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent god, and doesn't even put up a fight.  
My Review:  I bought this book because I like Graham Hancock's work on aliens and Ancient Aliens.  I thought the story would have more of a supernatural twist.  Tozi, one of the supporting characters, could turn invisible, but that was the extent of magic.  The book fits in better with historical fiction.
The story was an amazing epic.  Hancock researched every angle possible, and put it into a highly entertaining story while teaching the reader about Central American history.  
I really loved the character of Malinal, a young woman forced into being a sex slave.  Tozi the teenage witch was also interesting as she escaped from the sacrifice of Montezuma.  Cortes was portrayed as a thoughtful leader who sought new lands and gold.
I really enjoyed the book, but I do have one criticism.  Hancock can get very wordy per my reading tastes, especially in battle scenes.  Otherwise, this was a terrific read for anyone who loves history.
4.5/5 Stars

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