Synopses & Reviews
"an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society...The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable, and determined heroine." Kirkus Reviews
Set in ninth-century Guatemala, at the height of the Mayan civilization, this is the story of Eveningstar Macaw, a young girl who finds the fate of her city in her hands. When she discovers enemy soldiers in the jungle while she is hunting medicinal herbs, Eveningstar Macaw tells her older brother, Smoke Shell, who saves the city. But the honor conferred upon Smoke Shell and his family turns out for the worse after the death of the king puts him in line to rule. Harsh, highly placed enemies sacrifice Smoke Shell to the gods; then it is up to Eveningstar Macaw to avenge her brother and eventually save herself. Eboch does a good job of balancing the many details of Mayan life with an electrifying--sometimes gory--story. Eboch does not pull back much as she chronicles both the sacrifices and the ritual bloodletting that were part of the Mayan culture. Of course, shocking events won't deter readers who will already be caught up in the excitement that reaches a high-velocity climax as Eveningstar Macaw struggles to avoid the fate her enemies have plotted for her.
A bustling ninth-century Mayan city is the setting for this engrossing first novel. When 11-year-oldEveningstar Macaw is scavenging through the nearby jungle, looking for the rare herbs her mother, the healer Blue Quetzal, uses as medicines, she stumbles across a scouting party of invaders who have been pillaging nearby villages. Eveningstar races to warn her brother, the brave warrior Smoke Shell, and her quick-thinking leads to a Mayan victory, and the naming of her family to nobility. Eveningstar persuades the evil High Priest, Great Skull Zero, to spare the youngest of invaders, whom her family takes as a slave and then befriends; her unease at their family's unexpected good fortune is validated when, at the death of the King Flint Sky God, Great Skull Zero orders six of the city's bravest warriors to accompany the royal corpse, including her brother. Although she can't prevent her brother's death, or the reign of terror that Great Skull unleashes, she rises up to resist the evil that threatens to destroy them all. Eboch crafts an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society, without dulling any of its edges; the author captures the enlightened elements of Mayan culture--its sophisticated economy, strict legal code, and elaborate pantheon of gods--while also portraying its ritual human sacrifice. The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable, and determined heroine.
"an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society...The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable, and determined heroine."
Eveningstar Macaw lives in a glorious Mayan city in the ninth century. When the king falls ill and dies, the city begins to crumble. An evil high priest, Great Skull Zero, orders the sacrifice of those who might become king, including Eveningstar's beloved brother. Suspicious of the High Priest's motives, Eveningstar attempts to save her brother, thus becoming an acknowledged enemy of the High Priest. Condemned to be thrown into the Well of Sacrifice, Eveningstar must find a way not only to save her own life but to rescue her family and her city from the tyrannical grasp of Great Skull Zero. Set against the vivid background of everyday life at the height of the Mayan golden age and illustrated with striking black-and-white paintings, Eveningstar's candid, gripping, and not-for-the-faint-of-heart account of the last days of a great city will have readers at the edge of their seats. Afterword.
About the Author
Chris Eboch lives in Carnation, Washington.Bryn Barnard lives with his wife and two children on an island in Puget Sound.