The Jaguar Warrior/The Warriors Way ~ Pre Aztec

The Jaguar Warrior ~ Pre Aztec #2

  • JaguarWarriorAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Publication Date: December 2013
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • five-stars

The growing Aztec capital is unhappy under the stern rule of their Tepanec overlords.
Having tried every political trick, Acamapichtli, the wise and vigorous ruler of the Aztecs, is about to seek an unusual solution.
When the delegation of the Tepanec elite warriors arrives at his island-city in order to enlist Aztec warriors, he seizes his chance, unleashing a series of adventures for our Tepanec heroes.

Ten years have passed and the Chief Warlord’s son, Atolli, has grown up, although still unpredictable and hotheaded. Atolli and his childhood friends, Mecatl and Cuatl, as part of a delegation of elite Tepanec warriors, have travelled to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan in order to recruit warriors for their raids. Tenochtitlan is under the rule of the Tepanec overlords of Azcapotzalco and it’s Emperor. The Aztecs themselves reap no rewards from the raids and are kept in deprivation.

Atolli knew by travelling to Tenochtitlan he was bound to meet Chictli, the Tepanec princess he kissed during his wild youth all those years ago. What he didn’t realise was how much it would change his life. Chictli had been given to Acamapichtli, the ruler of the Aztecs, after the death of her father and was now the Chief Wife. She believes Atolli betrayed her and her father and is bitter, cruel and filled with hatred towards Atolli even though she still feels the pull of attraction.

Oh, he hadn’t changed at all, this Azcapotzalco Chief Warlord’s son. Heavier in frame, wider in chest and shoulders, his face broader and tougher than she’d remembered, he looked at her reservedly, evidently thrown off balance as well. But in the depth of the large wide-spaced eyes she could see the confidence, the same self-assurance she was drawn to ten summers before, betting on him, giving him a considerable part in the grand scheme of her father’s gamble.

Acamapichtli is a wise man of vision who has every intention of gaining independence while developing and expanding his empire. To that end he wants sanction to subdue the trouble in nearby settlements. He tries to persuade Atolli to deliver a message to the Emperor via Tecpatl, Atolli’s father, on his behalf. Atolli refuses, uncomfortable and annoyed at feeling used. His allegiance is tested and his encounter with Chictli forces him to leave his reckless youth behind.

The Warrior’s Way ~ Pre Aztec #3

  • Warrior'sWayAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Publication Date: December 2013
  • Category: Historical Fiction

The small Aztecs island is busy trying to gain their independence, while helping the Tepanecs expand their Empire, engaging in more and more wars.
Yet, the Great Empire’s interests are not always going along with our heroes’ goals. 
While struggling to achieve their aims, the main characters find themselves on different paths, each fraught with losses and danger.

This last of the pre Aztec series takes place mostly in the Tepanec capital of Azcapotzalco. Atolli has returned from Tenochtitlan a changed man after his experiences there, he has a purpose and is determined to make his mark. Mecatl has fallen in love with a rescued slave girl, Mino, who arrives with them and their new recruits.

Atolli has been offered the position of leading warrior by the Aztec ruler if he succeeds in conquering the targeted settlements during his raids with his band of Aztec warriors. He sees this as a great opportunity now, but can’t go back to Tenochtitlan other than with permission for the Aztecs to campaign independently. Azcapotzalco needs a new Chief Warlord and Ocelotlzin, the Emperor’s nephew, is being considered for the position. He is not alone in resisting independence for the Aztecs.

His father shrugged. “There are Tepanecs who see this island nation as a threat, although they are not many. Most see the Aztecs as barbarians with no finesse. I used to share this opinion, although I’m not so sure about that now. Their history to date was not inspiring, starting from their nomadic ancestry and ending with the flayed princess of Culhuacan.  They make good warriors, and that is why they are tolerated. I don’t see how they could be a threat to us, a small nation stuck on a pitiful island…”

Tecpatl, in a fairly untenable position as Adviser to the Emperor and subject to his whims, hates the politics and unscrupulousness he’s subjected to. While using his influence and trying to further Atolli’s cause he incurs the displeasure of the Emperor and Tecpatl’s fortunes decline rapidly. 

These are such well crafted narratives with wonderfully developed and engaging personalities. As always, Zoe Saadia writes excellent and absorbing stories, imaginative and detailed, bringing the characters to life vividly. Informative and enjoyable at the same time, a great way to learn about history.

The ending is superb, dramatic and quite moving. I love getting so immersed in a story that the characters feel completely real. A fascinating and insightful glimpse into history and the daily life and customs of the Mesoamericans, pre conquest. Life is very unpredictable and circumstances can change suddenly as Tecpatl and his family discover. It’s a very male dominated, polygamous society where women are relegated to caring for home and children, cooking and weaving. Some are unfortunate enough to sold as slaves. Worshipping gods and making sacrifices to appease or ask for favours is a standard practice. It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, life changes with the advance of the Aztec civilisation.

The series leaves the Aztecs poised to become the dominant force, beginning with book one of The Rise of the Aztecs series, The Highlander.

My thanks to Zoe Saadia for complimentary copies of the books. This does not influence/alter my opinion or the content of this review.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

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7 thoughts on “The Jaguar Warrior/The Warriors Way ~ Pre Aztec

  1. Cathy, i have these books waiting for me and your reviews have fair made me giddy to get onto them. I’m on book 5 of The Rise of the Aztecs and am such a fan of Zoe’s

    Liked by 1 person

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