The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik’nal of Palenque
Mists of Palenque Series Book 1
In misty tropical jungles 1500 years ago, a young Mayan girl with visionary powers was destined to become the first woman ruler of B’aakal, a Classic Mayan polity in southern Mexico. She was the last of her royal lineage, the only child of Kan Bahlam I, and her accession would fulfill his ambitions. Never before had a woman acceded to the throne of Lakam Ha (Palenque), dominant city of B’aakal, and powerful forces were allied against her. Her father immersed her in an intense training program and cultivated support among nobles, while his cousins plotted to overthrow his dynasty.
Yohl Ik’nal (Heart of North Wind) had to put aside her personal desires and relinquish the comfortable world of palace women to meet the challenges as royal heir. Her love for her father steeled her will and
impelled her to master skills of rulership. Her visioning powers allowed her to overcome political opponents and anticipate enemy attack, saving Lakam Ha from defeat. In the midst of betrayal and revenge, through court intrigues and regional clashes, she faced personal crises and found a deeply satisfying relationship that sustained her.
The first woman ruler of the ancient Mayas, the first Queen of Lakam Ha, she built temples to honor her father and her gods. She protected her city and brought prosperity to her people. But she foresaw a time of darkness and devastation coming and she must choose to follow her own vision or bow to the will of the gods. Would her choice cause ruin or bring her city to greatness?
The story of this remarkable woman lay buried for centuries under the crumbling ruins of Palenque. She was one of the most powerful women in the Americas, but few have heard of her. This historically based novel brings Yohl Ik’nal and her people authentically to life in extravagant court ceremonies, exotic customs, demanding self-sacrifice, shamanic rituals and intimacies of personal relationships.
Her accession carved a new glyph in Maya history. The Bahlam (Jaguar) dynasty was preserved through her and propelled to heights of power and creativity. She was the grandmother of K’inich Janaab Pakal, called “Pakal the Great,” the most famous Mayan ruler. In 1952 his royal tomb was excavated, the richest Mayan burial found and the equivalent of Egypt’s King Tut. As more than one Mayanist said of her, “she must have been a remarkable woman.”
Centuries later, modern archaeologist Francesca and her team discover the royal burial of a crimson skeleton, possibly the first queen’s tomb found. They believe this burial is connected with Pakal, but cannot identify who the interred person was, and whether male or female. Francesca begins to unravel a web connected to ancient Palenque that will change her life.