In the finest fairytale tradition, the god promises to fulfil Casiopea’s dreams if she will help him regain his missing body parts and resume his rightful place on the throne of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. There follows a richly picaresque adventure as Casiopea and Hun-Kamé travel around Mexico on the god’s quest. This is a moving description of a young girl’s coming of age and a seamless fusion of the real and the magical.
Casiopea is a memorable heroine with “a knack for quiet insurrection”. One day she accidentally awakens a Mayan god of death, the urbane and gorgeous Hun-Kamé, Lord of Shadows. Cassiopea accompanies the god through the delights and colours of jazz age Mexico in a quest to help him to recover his throne from his treacherous brother. This is all a bit whimsical for my tastes, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia writes with verve and the Mayan mythology she draws on is fascinating.