Reviewer: by Liza Perrat
What we thought: I love historical fiction that sweeps me back to times I know nothing about; that allows me to experience life as it was then, and The Fall of the Empire does just that. I read, and immensely enjoyed, this final book of Zoe Saadia’s Rise of the Aztec series, as a standalone story.
Set in the Tepanec Empire, or today’s Mexico, this is an action-packed adventure story of revenge, survival and love, featuring slaves, warriors, traders and emperors. It begins with the trader, Etl, overhearing a band of soldiers who plan to overthrow the emperor, and the pretty, smart and determined girl, Tlalli, who is plotting her revenge against the Emperor.
The turmoil is intriguing, and had me switching sides from chapter to chapter. The battles are captivating and the story, with its great drama and unexpected twists, moves forward to a historically-accurate conclusion.
The characters are so well-drawn that we feel we are there, with them, trying to stay alive in a situation they have no control over. And when, at the end, we have to bid goodbye to Etl, Tlacaelel, Tlalli and the others, it feels like saying goodbye to real people.
With its rich characters, blended from real and imagined people, its lovely prose woven through accurate historical fact, and a pace that never flags, I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.
And after The Fall of the Empire, I’m really looking forward to reading the entire Rise of the Aztec series!
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Bernard Cornwell, Manda Scott, Simon Scarrow.
Avoid if you don’t like: Mexico, ancient civilisations, warriors.
Ideal accompaniments: Corn bread and claret wine.
Genre: Historical Fiction.