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The Mayan Red Queen: Tz’ aakb’u  Ahau of Palenque, by Leonide Martin (Made for Success Publishing, 2015, 300 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

January 3, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Leonide Martin, retired California State University professor, author and Maya researcher, continues her Mists of Palenque Series in Book 3 with a work of historical fiction that has been described as tastefully written with a beautiful weave of historical fact; The Mayan Red Queen: Tz’ aakb’u Ahau of Palenque.

This book in the Mists of Palenque  series is a fascinating journey into the life of the Mayan Red Queen of Palenque (Lakam Ha), which is actually a book that brings ancient Maya culture to life in historical fiction about real and fictional Maya characters. Martin’s books draw upon extensive research of scientific and indigenous perspectives, and are based upon archeological knowledge of Maya sites and historical persons. Apprenticing with Maya elders, the author become a Maya Fire Woman and Solar Initiate.

It is fascinating to see the attached photos of the author actually participating in the Maya Fire Woman ceremony, which she indicates to me is a religious ceremony. She further indicates that the "Solar" initiate is actually sun worshiping. 

This is the story of Lalak, a kind, perceptive – and homely, young woman who is whisked away from everything she knows to an arranged royal marriage. Descriptions of the Mexican landscape, the ancient Mayan cities; and the Mayan art, music, and clothing is exemplified throughout this fanciful story. This book pulses with ritual and sex magic, which is actually a part of the Mayan culture.

Just yesterday, in a phone interview with the author, I inquired of her as to why she would choose to write this book as historical fiction when the Mayan Red Queen is actually a realistic and factual person? Martin indicated to me that it was simpler for her to write it as historical fiction as there is so much that is shrouded in the mystique of the Mayan Red Queen, and there is not much actual documentation. We discussed the unearthing of the actual Mayan Red Queen from her sarcophagus in and around 1994, which is in and of itself a fascinating story. Martin told me that she tries to get to the area where the basis of this story originates at least once a year, in Mexico or the Yucatan Peninsula.

This book is especially recommended for lovers of historical fiction, and the Mayan experience in particular.


Dennis Moore is the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics, and Corruption in Chicago”. Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.                               

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