War God Hardcover – Aug. 20 2013
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- Item Weight : 822 g
- ISBN-10 : 1444734377
- ISBN-13 : 978-1444734379
- Hardcover : 500 pages
- Dimensions : 16.2 x 4.5 x 23.8 cm
- Publisher : Coronet (Aug. 20 2013)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
The book offers up a heady mix of action, politics, spirituality and the supernatural and we learn a lot...Convincing fantasy elements and viscerally recreated details keep the narrative charging forward.―Daily Mail
Reviews for Fingerprint of the Gods―Various
Reviews for War God―Various
It will have you hyperventilating within minutes... Meets all the "thriller" criteria with gusto.―Newcastle Journal.
Intriguing― Sunday Times
Interweaving historical fact and vivid fiction, Graham Hancock's War God is packed full of blood, guts, conflict, sacrifice and witchcraft in the last days of the Aztec empire. The story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the downfall of Moctezuma is the perfect (if very gory) distraction from modern life.―Wanderlust
Graham Hancock has, once again, produced a book that entertains as well as educates...War God is a rich and deeply involving novel that grips you from the very first page. If you can handle the gruesome detail, then you will devour every page and the end will come too soon, leaving you desperate for book two...―Sir Read-A-Lot Blog
Five hundred years ago the old Mexican prophecy which announced the return of Quetzalcoatl came true. In an era dominated by human sacrifices and the decadence of a great culture, bearded men, white-faced, from beyond the sea, arrived to impose their law. In this fast-moving highly reccomended novel, Graham Hancock masterfully reconstructs the biggest clash of civilizations ever, revealing aspects that only a genius author could unveil.―Javier Sierra New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Supper and The Lost Angel
...part historical fact, part fantasy, the effect is as intense as the events themselves. It's a fascinating read that will have you booking a flight to Mexico long before you finish the book.―Evening Standard
About the Author
As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.
Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.
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Top reviews from Canada
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That being said, I am now waiting for the third book in this amazingly detailed and fast paced series he has started here, with this first book, 'Nights of the Witch'. Graham certainly does not disappoint with the tapestry of rich character development woven around a brutal and often over-looked portion of our history, concerning the Spanish conquest of the Aztec. The elements of magic and spirituality and religion have been fine-tuned, put together and played against each other with amazing creativity and overall believability. If you like historical fact mixed with fiction, action, intrigue and suspense, (even some romance!) I would recommend this book to you without doubt.
I cannot believe I didn't review it earlier. The fact is, I am from the states, and had never before used Amazon.ca before. For some reason, Graham's publishers seem reluctant to admit he has a LOT of fans here in the US. I look forward to seeing this changing in the future!
While I'm normally strictly a non-fiction reader, listening to Graham talk about the premise of the book was enough to get me interested, and I definitely was not disappointed!
The story and characters are very engaging and the inter-locking story-lines, multiple point-of-view characters, and generally short chapters make this 500+ page book a breeze to read.
The historical attention to detail (what Graham is mostly known for in the non-fiction world) is fascinating and I often found myself going online to read more about some of the characters and events. (be careful though, this could spoil the plot!)
It should be noted that this is not simply a historical fiction (of which it's a great one) but also a historical fantasy. The book contains elements and magic and mysticism which helps to round out the characters as these were important and commonly held beliefs of the cultures in question, however if you are a person who dismisses these things out of hand (even in a work of fiction) it could be a potential turn off. The book is also not for the squeamish as it's quite a bloody tale, but for anyone that has even basic knowledge of the events the book is based on this should come as no surprise.
I noticed the ink would slightly smear on numerous pages and the overall build quality makes me think the book could be in pretty rough shape after it gets back to me from all the people I'm sure it will be lent to, but I chose not to fault the author and base my rating entirely on the story itself.
In conclusion, I can hardly wait for the next book in the series and am thankful to Graham not only for a wonderfully entertaining book, but also for reigniting my interest in fiction in general.
I have pre ordered book II, and am looking forward to reading it!
Graham's writing style is usually short, fast-paced chapters that switch between various points of view of the story. This style makes for a very enjoyable read.
Finishing 'War God' has left me desperately wanting the next installment!
I highly recommend his other novel "Entangled", and non-fiction books "Fingerprints of the Gods", "Supernatural", etc.
Top reviews from other countries
Graham Hancock’s epic novelisation of the Spanish invasion and conquest of Mexico is a masterwork in all respects: it melds historical factuality and levelled appraisals of its real personalities with an enveloping fictional narrative, bolstered by an informed nod to the supernatural, which is never to the deficit of the non-fictional event sequence, though minor tweaks are made and referred to in the afterword.
The historical setting of the story is half a millennia ago, when a cavalier captain, Hernán Cortés, set off to the ‘New Lands’ of South America from recently Spanish-conquered Cuba, against the will of his Governor. Cortés is driven by fame and fortune in this life and the next. He has a close communion with his patron saint and sees the attempt to conquer newer lands as destined to succeed for it is deigned by, and in the name of, God.
The empire dominating the New Lands are known to us as the Aztecs, to themselves the Mexica: a grand and ghastly, proud and excessive empire—as all tend—which exerts its power well beyond its own borders, extracting tribute from many other much weaker peoples. The leader of the Mexica, its ‘Great Speaker’, is Moctezuma, essentially a king whose privilege it is to commune with the War God, Hummingbird, and who commands total respect and subservience from his subjects.
The Spanish are set on finding the fabled city of gold in Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. They must conquer or cajole or bargain with the indigenous to secure a path there, facilitated by Malinal’s translation and the godly aura clouding the Mexica and Maya’s view of the Spanish’ arrival, which they play along with to their advantage. The military encounters between them are as savage as are the diplomatic encounters courteous; both sides learn of the capacity of the other to be both unsparingly vicious and surprisingly civil. Nevertheless, Hancock is unsparing in his characterising the brutality of both, which makes for perfectly feasible accounting of what is an often too simplified or valorised epoch. On the Spanish account, whole villages were burned to fiery ruin, women raped, children unspared. The Mexica found its infamy and renown in human sacrifice, which was as regular as it was rife, but otherwise was much like the archetypal empire, overzealous and overstretched, meeting a fate which was not due to their being undermanned, but outmanned and overwhelmed by better tactics and technology. This latter point is something about which Hancock writes brilliantly: the fear felt by the indigenous when first encountering cannon (“fire serpents”), men on horseback, described as half-man half-beast, and boats that “move without paddles.”
Hancock’s research into the lives lived, thoughts thought and beliefs believed by both the Spanish and indigenous has informed these novels. One can, despite their being opposed in total war, empathise and sympathise with both sides, since Hancock shows the stark similarities between them, despite being balanced by equally stark dissimilarities. For example, when each approach their Gods in altered states of consciousness: Cortés in lucid dreams, Moctezuma by way of magic mushroom, Father Muñoz by flagellating himself into a lurid ecstasy, etcetera. Likewise with the absolute tenacity the fearsome warriors of each side confront the other with; the pride of the victories and the shame of defeats.
What most grasps me about this book, though, is its truth: this actually went down! Hancock’s descriptions of pitched battles, of human sacrifice, of the misery left in their wake rightly leaves some to your imagination, but without letting it get away thinking that these conquests were in any way pretty, or wholly noble, or in any sense humane. You learn much from this book in history and in philosophy—and Hancock doesn’t force either down your throat. The novelist’s task is not to tell, but to show; this Hancock heeds expertly. The novel flows smoothly in a gripping narrative canvassing history, politics, action, love and the supernatural. I couldn't recommend it more eagerly.
In conclusion, this is a fantastic page turning work of historical fiction. The big problem was always going to be that the Spanish were obviously murderous scumbags, and the Aztecs themselves were human sacrifice hungry scumbags as well. How do you pull for either side, when both sides consist of serial killing, murderous psychopaths who are perfectly willing to butcher thousands of people to serve their own war Gods, who are almost certainly the same demons pretending to be Gods, in order to get both sides butchering each other? It could have been an insurmountable problem, but by telling the story through characters on both sides who are essentially slaves, the author (Graham Hancock) largely gets around this problem, as the reader can pull for the individual rather than either sides of the psychopathic, blood thirsty, warring armies.
When you finish a book and your first reaction is disappointment that you've finished and there's nothing more to read, you know the author has done his job. That's how I felt after reading War God: Nights of the witch. Luckily for me, and anybody else reading this fantastic book, this book is just the beginning. The story will continue in, War God: Return of the plumed serpent. Put my name down for that one as well. I'm looking forward to reading it already.
Graham Hancock's first novel, charting the clash of two warrior empires, is both gripping and convincing. War God is described as historical within the fantasy genre. Hancock uses forays into the paranormal to powerful effect and in a way that is entirely believable. The Spaniards, with their absolute certainty of their moral right, live in a world where saints can, and do, intervene in human affairs. Moctezuma, uses hallucinogens and the psychic power of mass slaughter, to alter his consciousness to commune with the fickle god, Hummingbird. He knows he lives in a year when the fates decree his empire is at risk and he is determined to prevent this. Young Tozi can, at great physical cost to herself, become briefly invisible to others not skilled in her magic. This is how she has, so far at least, avoided losing her heart to a slash of an obsidian knife.
Both militant Christianity and the barbarous rites of the Mexica people, involved mass slaughter of innocents. Yet within each of these traditions were individuals of true nobility who influenced the course of history. Hancock provides an attractive portrayal of the wily and courageous Cortes. The war exploits of Shikotenka presents some of the finest action writing since O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin series.
We must hope this novel is the first of a his own series.