riotous good time, befitting the fairy-tale promise of opening
sentence. There is intrigue, love, madness, fighting, dancing,
all ornamented by many a sumptuous costume and lavish meal. But
Mayo paints this vivid action with the delicate touch of a fine-haired
"I have read
a few sweeping historical novels that have remained inside of
me forever. Tolstoy's War and Peace is one of those, Dickens's
A Tale of Two Cities is another, Pasternak's Doctor
Zhivago is another, and now The Last Prince of the Mexican
Empire is another."
(February 18, 2010, Denver, CO) Unbridled Books is proud to announce the May release of the paperback of THE LAST PRINCE OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE, a first novel by C.M. Mayo. When it was first published in hardcover last year, the book earned kudos from reviewers. It proceeded to receive glowing reviews throughout the year. In December, it was selected by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2009.
THE LAST PRINCE OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE, which is based on fact, is the story of the son of an American woman who married in to Mexico's famous Iturbide family. Mayo, an American herself, is a Flannery O'Connor Fiction Award winner and well-known translator of contemporary Mexican literature.
2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution and the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence. The little known history that this novel describes helps to illuminate those struggles. Set during the mid-19th century, when the Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg became Emperor of Mexico, THE LAST PRINCE OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE becomes a story of Mexico itself, its struggle for national identity amidst the wrangling for control of the Americas, its complexity, its rich history, its beauty, its culture.
Maximilian and his consort, Carlota, arrived in Mexico City in 1864, supported by the Hapsburgs and propped up by the influx of French troops. Childless, in 1865, Maximilian took custody of- with all appearances that this would be his Heir Presumptive- the two-year old Prince Agustín de Iturbide, grandson of Mexico's first emperor, a leader of Mexico's Independence from Spain, who had been executed before a firing squad. The boy's father, a Mexican diplomat, and mother, a Washington D.C. belle, immediately regretted their complicity. But Maximilian refused to relinquish the child, sparking an international scandal.
With Mayo's evocative prose and vivid, compassionate characterizations, one cannot help but turn the pages to find out what happened, and why.
C.M. Mayo has been living in and writing about Mexico for many years. Her books include the widely-lauded travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico, and Sky Over El Nido, which won the Flannery O'Connor Fiction Award for Short Fiction. An avid translator of contemporary Mexican literature, Mayo is founding editor of Tameme Chapbooks ~ Cuadernos, and has also edited the anthology Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, a portrait of Mexico in the fiction and literary prose of 24 Mexican writers. She conducted extensive original research to write this novel, her debut. Mayo divides her time between Washington D.C. and Mexico City.
MORE PRAISE FOR
"A stunning achievement, an inspired novel that steers clear of boring history lessons and instead zeroes in on the smallest epicenter -- Principe Agustin de Iturbide y Green -- to spiral out into a wondrous period, 1860s Mexico, a time of political possibility and unrest in which "persons who do not appear to share even a footprint's worth of common ground turn out to have destinies bound together in painful knots."-El Paso Times
"Epic in scope impressively researched Mayo's reanimation of a crucial period in Mexican history should satisfy history buffs and those in the mood for an engaging story brimming with majestic ambition."-Publishers Weekly
"Mayo - winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction for her collection Sky Over El Nido - has conducted significant research to compile a story that is both grand yet intimate about a child who sparked an international scandal The intriguing tale of the Prince of Mexico offers a fine historical lesson about why Maximilian's paternalistic adventure in a country that did not want him was doomed from the start."-Latin American Book Review
"[A] rich historical
novel... Political ambitions, the intrigues of the imperial court,
and the relationship between countries at the height of European
colonization all the drive the intricate plot of the novel, taking
us on a dizzying journey from Washington to Veracruz to Paris
and back to Mexico and the U.S.... The evocative descriptions
and ironic commentary on the relationship
"Mayo's cultural insights are first-rate, and the glittering, doomed regime comes to life in quick vignettes Recommended to readers of popular history as well as historical fiction. Fans of such Mexican-themed novels as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate or Sandra Cisnero's Caramelo might enjoy this for context and contrast."-LJXpress
"A very compelling story with a ton of juicy history to savor. Mayo has an elegant style that weaves in and out of fact and fiction as she reaches into the minds of the major players and then deviates to introduce supporting characters (nearly all of them real as well)... After finishing this wonderful novel I have new respect for the trials suffered by our southern neighbor in the recent past and also a deep desire to learn more about so many of the names involved, not the least of which the little boy who almost became the future ruler of a nation."-Bookslut.com
example of historical fiction done properly. Mayo has drawn from
the scanty facts and filled in only what is necessary to lead
the reader along a logical path of what-might-have-been
book to be savored for its artfully crafted prose and extraordinary
"The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is impeccably researched and beautifully rendered. Those readers who love complex historical novels and who want to learn more about this time period in Mexican history will enjoy Mayo's work."-Caribou's Mom Book Blog
historical account delivered in such sweeping, compelling prose
as to ring more like literature than fact-and, fundamentally,
one could say that it's both; it proves false that old Dorothy
Parker adage about historical novels being neither novels nor
history. This is an extensively researched and brilliantly organized
book, combining geopolitics, international finance, military
strategy, and, alas, the eternal struggle of a family, a child,
and the human heart in the midst of it all
style is seasoned, intelligent, and wonderfully informed."
RE: THE LAST PRINCE
OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE