Now Available as an e-book at Amazon.com and as a trade paperback at CreateSpace!
How much do you know about the Inca? Everyone has heard of them, but a sad truth is that most people can do little more than mention them in the same breath as the Aztecs and the Maya. A South American civilization every bit as impressive as the Romans disappeared less than five hundred years ago, and today the true story is all but lost to us: In just three generations the Inca built an empire three thousand miles long and five hundred wide across the second highest mountain range in the world; within forty years of their beginning, rebellions, smallpox, political purges, a civil war, and finally the arrival of the Spaniards left so few of the Inca nobility alive that very little unbiased and coherent information was ever told to their conquerors and recorded for posterity. While working my way through the conflicting histories I found myself wishing that someone had written about the decline and fall of the Inca from their own perspective, as Gary Jennings did in his masterpiece Aztec. After a great deal of research I have written the book I wanted to read.
Inca is the life story of Haylli Yupanki, a man who served three generations of emperors only to watch his whole world shatter and shatter again, leaving nothing behind but his memories and his pride. Hiding in the jungle with the last of the unsubjugated Inca, Haylli transcribes his memoirs from quipus –the Inca’s writing system of knotted string– into Spanish with the help of a captured priest. Beginning with a childhood of privilege and a youth spent as a fugitive from Imperial justice, through a successful career as the Inca’s most powerful bureaucrat, to an old age spent in the ruin of his life’s work, Haylli was present at all the important moments of his people. Through his words he hopes their story will be remembered.
Fans of historical fiction will not be disappointed with this book: It’s a sprawling tale covering more than seventy years to include almost everything we know happened between the zenith and nadir of Inca power. More than two-thirds of the characters are based on real people, and every corner of the empire is visited over the course of the narrator’s life: The plot has court intrigue, forbidden loves, triumphs, tragedies, rivalries, heroes, monsters, coups, prophecies, plagues, treasures, sex and violence –all before the conquistadors arrive to change everything forevermore.
You’re going to be hearing a lot about this in the weeks and months to come. I’ll keep you updated.