Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs
In 1519, when the ambitious Hernán Cortés landed on Mexican soil in the name of the Spanish monarch, he had three goals: conquer the natives, convert them to Catholicism, and take possession of a fortune in gold. In less than two years, through a series of brutal battles, shifting alliances, disease, and cunning, Cortes managed to defeat the proud and powerful Montezuma, god-like ruler of all Mexico. This volume is a riveting account of Cortés’s campaign to invade the Valley of Mexico and capture the fabulous Tenochtitlán (the “City of Dreams”), capital of an immense empire numbering some 15 million people. Levy provides realistic portraits of the two major figures and their initial meeting, and scenes of floating gardens and ornate palaces, gruesome religious sacrifice, the horrors of two war machines in face-to-face battle, in a factual, enthralling, enlightening—if at times disturbing—lush narrative that reads like good fiction. This depiction of the most powerful empire in the Americas tragically brought low by European invaders is nothing short of fascinating. Includes maps, illustrations, notes, and index.