Near fine condition.Simon & Schuster,2004.First UK paperback edition-first printing(1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2).Paperback(crease and small nick on the edge of the cover) in near fine condition.Illustrated with b/w maps.Nice and clean pages as new with light shelf wear on the outer edges,two pencil marks impressions on the edge of the first page of the book,two small nicks on the edges of the pages.Nice and clean book.391pp including Author's note,a note on Nahuatl.A collectable first edition. This is another paragraph Review: An Aztec slave must unravel the mystery surrounding an untimely and embarrassing death in 1517, or face the wrath of Montezuma. Yaotl, narrator and slave to the Chief Priest Lord Tlilpotonqui (He Who Is Feathered Black), is assisting a common man named Handy with a human sacrifice to the Great Pyramid. Their sacrifice, known as a Bathed Slave, is far from the specimen of human perfection stipulated by the merchants. Before the ceremony can be completed, he breaks free, utters a threat-or perhaps a prophecy-and leaps to his death, catching everyone off guard. His carelessness earns Yaotl an audience with the imperious Emperor Montezuma, who demands that he learn the story behind the suicidal slave. Montezuma has been plagued by restless dreams of late and by the mysterious prison escape of several sorcerers. Sorcerers, the legend goes, can change themselves into various creatures under cover of darkness. Montezuma suspects a connection between incidents. Yaotl must journey far across the empire to discover the answers (Levack provides detailed maps). His episodic odyssey through diverse villages with exotic names provides as much historical arcana as clues to the mystery. Readers will eventually learn why he's been reduced from priesthood to slavery. Levack's colorful winner of the CWA Debut Dagger Award will satisfy every appetite for information about this fascinating civilization, but may disappoint fans seeking a stronger mystery. (Kirkus Reviews) n nSinister things are happening in 16th-century Mexico, and the Emperor Montezuma orders slave Yaotl to find out what is causing so much grief for the Aztecs. It proves to be no easy job, for Yaotl is the slave of Montezuma's chief minister - a man of unbridled ambition, total lack of scruples and a determination to preserve his secrets. The problem for Yaotl is that if he fails in his mission he must answer to Montezuma, while if he looks like succeeding he could become a human sacrifice. The tale makes for a neat twist on the historical detective story and is packed full of the atmosphere of an Aztec world at its height. The temples run with human blood and soothsayers wield inordinate influence.