Synopses & Reviews
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court. Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsburg, as Emperor. A year later, the childless Maximilian took custody of the two year old, half-American, Prince AgustÃ¬n de Iturbide y Green, making the toddler the Heir Presumptive. Maximilians reluctance to return the child to his distraught parents, even as his empire began to fall, and the Empress Carlota descended into madness, ignited an international scandal. This lush, grand read is based on the true story and illuminates both the cultural roots of Mexico and the political development of the Americas. But it is made all the more captivating by the depth of Mayos writing and her understanding of the pressures and influences on these all too human players.
A swashbuckling, riotous good time, befitting the fairy-tale promise of the opening sentence. There is intrigue, love, madness, fighting, dancing, all ornamented by many a sumptuous costume and lavish meal. But Mayo paints this vivid action with the delicate touch of a fine-haired brush.”The Austin-American Statesman
I have read a few sweeping historical novels that have remained inside of me forever. Tolstoy's War and Peace is one of those, Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities is another, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago is another, and now The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is another.”Mexico Connect
"A stunning achievement, an inspired novel that steers clear of boring history lessons and instead zeroes in on the smallest epicenter -- Principe Agustin de Iturbide y Green -- to spiral out into a wondrous period, 1860s Mexico, a time of political possibility and unrest in which "persons who do not appear to share even a footprint's worth of common ground turn out to have destinies bound together in painful knots."El Paso Times
Mayo - winner of the Flannery OConnor Award for Short Fiction for her collection Sky Over El Nido - has conducted significant research to compile a story that is both grand yet intimate about a child who sparked an international scandal
The intriguing tale of the Prince of Mexico offers a fine historical lesson about why Maximilians paternalistic adventure in a country that did not want him was doomed from the start.” Latin American Book Review
[A] rich historical novel... Political ambitions, the intrigues of the imperial court, and the relationship between countries at the height of European colonization all the drive the intricate plot of the novel, taking us on a dizzying journey from Washington to Veracruz to Paris and back to Mexico and the U.S.... The evocative descriptions and ironic commentary on the relationship between cultures make this an enjoyable and important novel, particularly relevant for these times.”Literal: Latin American Voices
A fascinating historical account delivered in such sweeping, compelling prose as to ring more like literature than factand, fundamentally, one could say that its both; it proves false that old Dorothy Parker adage about historical novels being neither novels nor history. This is an extensively researched and brilliantly organized book, combining geopolitics, international finance, military strategy, and, alas, the eternal struggle of a family, a child, and the human heart in the midst of it all
Mayo, who has lived in Mexico for many years and has written extensively about its history and culture, is the author of a travel memoir about Baja California, among other works. Her literary style is seasoned, intelligent, and wonderfully informed.”Multicultural Review
"The story has plenty to lure the reader: banditry, kidnapping, hubris, madness; but it is a fine attention to detail, on both the factual and visceral levels, that distinguishes C.M. Mayos first novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. Drawing from original research and a nuanced understanding of Mexico, Mayo relates one of Mexicos more fantastic historical episodes: Maximilian, an idealistic Austrian prince who, with French backing, is crowned emperor in 1864...Perceptive, and adept at imagining the peeves and wicked daydreams of people from all walks of life... "THE PEOPLE'S GUIDE TO MEXICO Blog
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court.