The Mayan Red Queen: Tz'aakb'u Ahau of Palenque (The Mists of Palenque Book 3)The Mayan Red Queen: Tz’aakb’u Ahau of Palenque by Leonide Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovers of all things Maya will enjoy the Mayan Red Queen. Leonide Martin has written a beautifully detailed story that showcases the depths of her knowledge on the subject, bringing to life a time, place, and people that text books only present two dimensionally. I had no trouble picturing the world and the characters as they fought, cried, and loved their way through it. One normally thinks of Medieval Europe, Biblical settings, or perhaps dynastic China when they consider court intrigues and drama, but the Mayan Red Queen proves that the New World could be just as fraught with royal peril. Such is the case when young Lalak is chosen to be the bride of the new ruler of Lankam Ha by his severe and controlling mother. Though Lalak is royalty, she comes from a smaller polity and is untested in big-city politics. Plus, she has been chosen for her lineage, and not her looks. She must rely on her intelligence, wit, and big heart to survive all challenges, external and internal. Will her surprising solution to many of her new home’s problems win the heart of the people, and the indifferent husband she has come to love?

The Mayan Red Queen did start out a bit slow, with very dense text, before I became vested in the characters, and one of the aspects most know and are fascinated by in Mayan culture, human sacrifice, was never really explored. Also, I felt opportunities for further excitement and drama was passed over when major wars or battles were only touched on. All that aside, the legacy of characters and stories in which this book belongs in the series coupled with the authenticity of the world made it an interesting read.

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