The Dark Virgin

Written by Oakland Ross
Review by Alycia Harris

Pitoque is a traveling merchant who sells his wares throughout the Aztec empire. While not an Aztec himself, he acts a spy for an Aztec called Azotl, the Keeper of the House of Darkness and a self-styled Master Functionary — a man who gets things done.

Rumors of “towers built upon the sea” have made it back to Tenochtitlán. To find out more, Azotl sends Pitoque to investigate, and thus begins the chain of events that will change the Aztec world forever.

The most refreshing aspect of this wonderful story is its foundation in historical fact. The author most definitely takes creative license, but the student of early Mexican civilization will find solid historical basis for this epic tale. The book richly evokes the most detailed aspects of characters, places, events and especially food — the descriptions of exotic cuisine will certainly cause the most finicky reader to salivate. The moving portrayal of religions and cultural perspectives creates an atmosphere where the reader cannot always be sure who is the villain and who is the hero.

This is a fun read — one the best I’ve read this year. Due to its length, however, it is not for the timid. For those interested in the period or who appreciate a well written, historically based piece of fiction, this work is sure to please.