Tribute of Death in the Yaotl mystery series by Simon Levack
Tribute of Death is a self-e-pubbed fourth book in the Yaotl Aztec mystery series, set in the time right before the conquistadores showed up. It was previously print-published many years ago, although I didn’t realize this until I just looked right now, by a print-on-demand (?) press, but I think it sort of sank. I had not seen or heard of it until it became available as a self-pubbed ebook a couple of years ago. The first three books in the series were all published by major publishers and the first one, Demon of the Air, won a Debut Dagger award.
The Yaotl series was intriguing for me to read because it is set in a time and place not usually chosen for historical mysteries. The setting and culture can be a bit hard to take. There’s lots of bloodshed – and blood shed – in the service of the gods, in addition to the odd murder or two, and if you can’t get over that, you probably won’t like these books. But Levack handles it pretty well, IMO, and Yaotl is a great protagonist with a keen mind and a couple of (nearly) fatal flaws to make him human. As I write a couple of these reviews, I’m discovering that a big part of what I tend to like about historical novels is the sense of time and place, and this series gets that across very well – I really felt like I was poling along the waterways of Tenochtitlan or gazing up at the pyramids with their temples on top.
Now for the (semi-) self-pubbed fourth book, Tribute of Death. I felt this continued the characters and the general story line quite well. The writing seemed a bit less “tight” than the previous three books, but I wasn’t too distracted by it, since, as mentioned above, I was largely into the setting and time. I did see some production problems with font sizes that seemed to just vary willy-nilly throughout, but those were somehow magically fixed somehow in the process of running it through Calibre and to the fbreader app on my Android phone. YMMV! As with the Corvinus series in the previous post, if you liked any of the earlier ones in this series, you’ll probably like this one, and if you didn’t, you probably won’t…
And, BTW, Tribute of Death is only 99 cents at Amazon US. It’s much more at BN.