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You Dreamed of Empires

You Dreamed of Empires

Ben says: Hilarious and beautiful. The final days of the Aztec empire as if they were taking place in the boardrooms of today. A poignant satire of colonialism and the evil that lives on in its descendants.

"Enrigue's genius lies in his ability to bring readers close to its tangled knot of priests, mercenaries, warriors and princesses while adding a pinch of biting humor." --Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Los Angeles Times


"Riotously entertaining... A triumph of solemnity-busting erudition and mischievous invention that will delight and titillate." --Financial Times


From the visionary author of Sudden Death, a hallucinatory, revelatory colonial revenge story.


One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés enters the city of Tenochtitlan - today's Mexico City. Later that day, he will meet the emperor Moctezuma in a collision of two worlds, two empires, two languages, two possible futures.


Cortés is accompanied by his captains, his troops, his prized horses, and his two translators: Friar Aguilar, a taciturn friar, and Malinalli, an enslaved, strategic Nahua princess. After nearly bungling their entrance fo the city, the Spaniards are greeted at a ceremonial welcome meal by the steely Aztec princess Atotoxtli, sister and wife of Moctezuma. As they await their meeting with the emperor - who is at a political and spiritual crossroads, and relies on hallucinogens to get by - Cortés and his entourage are ensconced in the labyrinthine palace. Soon, one of Cortés's captains, Jazmín Caldera, overwhelmed by the grandeur of the place, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed into the city, and wonders at the chances of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire. And what if... they don't?


You Dreamed of Empires brings Tenochtitlan to life at its height, and reimagines its destiny. The incomparably original Álvaro Enrigue sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, a restitutive, fantastical counterattack, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream.

Publication Date: 
January 9, 2024
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