Death of the Fifth Sun. Robert Somerlott

Death of the Fifth Sun
by Robert Somerlott.
Viking, 1987.

Historical novel of the Conquest told from Malinche’s point of view. Somerlott is most successful when giving Aztec points of view on religious matters: it is complex, mysterious, yet matter-of-fact. He has clearly done his homework on Aztec history, both social and political (and has lived in Mexico for 30 years, apparently), but his understanding of some of the historical pressures on the Spaniards seems superficial and basic. Perhaps this is because Malinche (the narrator) was never able to learn much more than the basics.

Characterization is quite good even though personalities may not fit with my own imaginings – especially Cortes. Malinche, especially, is truly a well developed character. Somerlott really only uses the parts of history he wants — he skims over some parts, makes up others (to give Malinche more power). I think he got tired toward the end, for he covers the seige & destruction of Tenochtitlan in just a few paragraphs! Oh, well, still an enjoyable book.

One Response to “Death of the Fifth Sun. Robert Somerlott”

  1. Anonymous

    Hey, I loved it.