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Publisher's Summary

In 1532, the 54-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother, Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca. Despite being outnumbered by more than 200 to one, the Spaniards prevailed - due largely to their horses, their steel armor and swords, and their tactic of surprise. They captured and imprisoned Atahualpa. Although the Inca emperor paid an enormous ransom in gold, the Spaniards executed him anyway. The following year, the Spaniards seized the Inca capital of Cuzco, completing their conquest of the largest native empire the New World has ever known. Peru was now a Spanish colony, and the conquistadors were wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. But the Incas did not submit willingly. A young Inca emperor, the brother of Atahualpa, soon led a massive rebellion against the Spaniards, inflicting heavy casualties and nearly wiping out the conquerors. Eventually, however, Pizarro and his men forced the emperor to abandon the Andes and flee to the Amazon. There, he established a hidden capital, called Vilcabamba. Although the Incas fought a deadly, 36-year-long guerrilla war, the Spanish ultimately captured the last Inca emperor and vanquished the native resistance. Kim MacQuarrie lived in Peru for five years and became fascinated by the Incas and the history of the Spanish conquest. Drawing on both native and Spanish chronicles, he vividly describes the dramatic story of the conquest, with all its savagery and suspense.
©2007 Kim MacQuarrie; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Vivid and energetic....Riveting." (Publishers Weekly)
"A first-rate reference work of ambitious scope that will most likely stand as the definitive account of these people." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David on 12-15-09

Quit while you are ahead

The story of the Conquistadors and the Incas is pretty compelling stuff. One begins by wishing a plague on both their houses and finishes with an enduring revulsion for Spanish duplicity, brutality and, above all, greed. So the material is very powerful.
The writing, on the other hand, is plodding and distressingly repetitious. The strength of the book is that it includes all the interesting details which can make an historical account come alive; the weakness of the book is that the details are recounted like a grocery list. And lest we come home without the milk or the beansprouts, they are usually reiterated a few times.
Worst of all, the final few hours of the book are devoted to the modern history of the discovery of Incan ruins. Unlike the original narrative, the material here is deadly dull, and it is just as poorly presented. I never quite made it to the end.

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19 of 20 people found this review helpful


By Paul Norwood on 05-02-08

Fact is more fascinating than fiction

This marvelous book will make your hair rise. The unbelievable chronicle of Pizzaro and the Incas seems like fiction, but it is all true. When I explain the history to those who might have an interest, they are incredulous. The Spanish method did work, but it couldn't be done today and shouldn't be done. Listen to it if you have an interest in history.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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