Mists of Palenque Series Book 3
Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards are an honor for the best ebooks published. The Mayan Red Queen won the Silver Medal in the Historical Literature Fiction – Ancient category in August 2016.
“Martin’s extensive research is couched within a fascinating story of emotional hardship and political intrigue. And amid the details is a beautiful story of love and respect fueled by the main characters Lalak and Pakal. I loved the story the most when they were featured, especially in their romantic interludes.” – NL August 2016
Midwest Book Review November 1, 2015
Under Martin’s hand the Mayan world and its underlying influences come alive, making for a thriller highly recommended for readers who also enjoy stories of archaeological wonders. (Full review at page bottom)
The ancient Maya city of Lakam Ha has a new, young ruler, K’inich Janaab Pakal. His mother and prior ruler, Sak K’uk, has selected his wife, later known as The Red Queen. Lalak is a shy and homely young woman from a nearby city who relates better to animals than people. She is chosen as Pakal’s wife because of her pristine lineage to B’aakal dynasty founders ̶ but also because she is no beauty.
Arriving at Lakam Ha, she is overwhelmed by its sophisticated, complex society and expectations of the royal court. Her mother-in-law, Sak K’uk, is critical and hostile, resenting any intrusion between herself and her son. She chose Lalak to avoid being displaced in Pakal’s affections, and does everything she can to keep it this way. The official name she confers on Lalak exposes her view of the girl as a breeder of future rulers: Tz’aabk’u Ahau, the Accumulator of Lords who sets the royal succession.
Lalak struggles to find her place and prove her worth, discovering that she must also win Pakal’s love,
since he is smitten by a beautiful woman, now banished from Lakam Ha by his mother. Pakal’s esthetic tastes dampen his view of his homely wife. Lalak, however, is fated to play a pivotal role in Pakal’s mission to restore the spiritual portal to the Triad Gods that was destroyed in a devastating attack by archenemy Kan. Through learning sexual alchemy, Lalak brings the immense creative force of sacred union to rebuild the portal, but first Pakal must come to view his wife in a new light.
In modern times, ten years after the discovery of the Red Queen’s tomb, archaeologist Francesca is studying new research about this mysterious royal woman in Mérida, Mexico. She teams up with British linguist Charlie to decipher an ancient manuscript left by her deceased grandmother. It provides clues about her grandmother’s secrets that send them to a remote Maya village, where they explore her family’s links to ancient Palenque.
Midwest Book Review November 1, 2015
Young Mayan ruler K’inich Janaab Pakal is marrying the shy, retiring Lalak, whose only inclination towards royalty lies in her lineage. Happier with animals than with people, she would seem an unlikely candidate to become a ruler; but an overly possessive mother-in-law has chosen Lalak just because she’ll be no threat to her role in her son’s life – unlike the woman she banished, who was Pakal’s true love.
As Lalak struggles with her evolving relationships with son and mother-in-law, she also comes into her own abilities, which go beyond serving as breeding material for Pakal’s lineage. When he embarks on a spiritual quest to rebuild a connection to the gods, she discovers a sexual mysticism that will change not just their relationship, but the world.
Fast forward to modern times, when an archaeologist uncovers clues to her heritage in the course of her research and embarks on a journey to discover more. As Lalak discovers that the ‘veil’ that clouds her true abilities is one of self-doubt and suspicion, so Francesca finds the parallels in history that will lead her to accept her own connections to an ancient Mayan heritage.
Field journals written by Francesca Nokom juxtapose nicely with Lalak’s evolving world and as Francesca closes in on the true identity of the Red Queen of Palenque, an endeavor that has taken ten years of hard research, so she makes personal discoveries about her rich world’s real influences.
Detailed accounts of archaeological processes punctuate the story line and provide a realistic feel to the progression of events. The attention to contrasting ancient and modern Mexican settings is also well done and adds depth and meaning to overall events, while Martin takes time to detail the methods of investigation that are involved in archaeological research.
Oracles and divine visions, priests and priestesses, goddesses and oracles, and ancient medicines that can repel malevolent forces: all these are drawn together in a clear portrait of ancient Mexico and the lush jungles surrounding Palenque .
It should be noted that this is Book Three of a series and concludes with an open ending inviting Book Four; but it also stands well on its own and assumes no prior familiarity with the series. Under Martin’s hand the Mayan world and its underlying influences come alive, making for a thriller highly recommended for readers who also enjoy stories of archaeological wonders. By Diane Donovan, Editor and Senior Reviewer