Gary Jennings, Robert Gleason and Junius Podrug, Forge, $25.95, Hardcover.
Gary Jennings, Robert Gleason and Junius Podrug, Forge, $25.95, Hardcover.

In the 1820’s, liberty sweeps from Europe to the New World. Bolivia frees Venezuela, while others try toppling Mexico’s Castilian rulers. These young revolutionaries include Aztec descendent Juan Rios and his true love, the beautiful Maria de Rosa. Juan’s skill in constructing weapons frees him from slavery and gains him a position in a Guadalajara gunshop. Making deadly firearms for the Spanish, then smuggling the best to the Rebels, earns him the name of the Alchemist. Then Spanish agents threaten his love, and he finds himself shanghaied during his rescue of her. After two years in the Philippines, the Alchemist returns to deal with Rebel hater Iturbe in this dogged struggle for independence. This strangely constructed novel using Jennings’ notes, Gleason’s editing and Podrug’s writing gives Aztec saga enthusiasts a tale worth reading.

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