I Was Bitten by an Angry Wasp
Posted September 10, 2011on:
If I weren’t such a clean-living teetotaller, I’d recommend that before starting this book you down a stiff glass of crème de cacao and take a deep draw on some devil’s weed. It’s heady stuff and it makes me want to get high.
However, being a rather fragile Asian who falls over after a sip of spirits, I had to be satisfied with several cups of Choco Aztec Spice Yogi Tea (readily available from Amazon).
I was right there in the thick of the action, though, whirling my sword in battle with the Mayans, chatting with sorcerers, cheating death and having weird out-of-body intercourse with my wives.
It made me wonder why more people haven’t written novels about the Aztecs. It was a civilization that had everything: magic, sports, adventure, legalized narcotics, and a really wild underworld.
But I suppose most authors would baulk at the research. Austin’s has been meticulous and it shows, even though he wears it very lightly. The narrative has an elegant simplicity that carries you ever forward as you join the hero on his strange shamanic quest.
Although the battle scenes are vividly described and the hallucinogenic episodes are haunting, the passage I most enjoyed was in Chapter 15 when the hero, Angry Wasp, meets One Grass, the Princess of Paynala, who stoically anticipates being raped by the victorious Sea People.
‘She moved closer. “When we were given to them this morning, one of them, a man with orange hair, grabbed my hand, pulled me close, and licked my ear. They all laughed. He’ll force me today, won’t he?”’
But a fate more terrifying than rape awaits her, for her captors are murderous followers of a foreign god. They intend to drown her as a sacrifice. Tense with expectation, our incorporeal hero gives chase:
‘I hastened to where One Grass was. The priest was dragging her into the sea amid the wailing of the other girls. Thick, fragrant traces of a heavenly substance filled the air around her, making my whole being throb with desire…’
Suspense combined with sensuality always gets my attention and in this chapter it is sustained. I won’t tell you the climax. I wouldn’t want to spoil your enjoyment. Let me just say that, after Chapter 15, another nine chapters of thrilling action lie in store in this magnificent book.