The Confessions of Gonzalo Guerrero

“And so it was that I chose to stand with the Mayans against the Spanish conquest that threatened to devour them. I had been forced to choose between the country of my birth and the woman of my heart. I made my choice, and have never doubted I made the right one.”   

Gonzalo Guerrero

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Imagine being suddenly stranded in an unknown world, a world populated by strange warlike people with bizarre customs and a language you don’t understand; people who pray to bloodthirsty gods and practice human sacrifice.

And imagine that you could never leave. Your home, your family, and everything that was once comfortable and familiar all of your life was now out of reach forever. You had to adapt or die.

What would you do? How would you live? What terrible compromises would you have to make to get through each day?

In 1511, Spaniard Gonzalo Guerrero awoke to just such a nightmare when he was shipwrecked on the unknown coast of the Yucatan.Enslaved by the Maya and in constant danger of being dragged to the sacrificial stone, Guerrero desperately struggled to learn, to understand,…and to survive.

In a few years, he rose to become an honored member of the Maya, with a wife and children. His new life was hard, but he loved his family, and was content

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Statue of Gonzalo Guerrero at Akumal

Suddenly, the Spaniards appeared, bent on conquest. Now Guerrero had to chose between his new family and the country of his birth. He made his choice….and made history. Guerrero became a hero to the Maya and a renegade to the Spaniards, and started a controversy that continues to this day.

From award-winning author John Reisinger, a novel that tells the incredible true story of one ordinary man who struggled and triumphed in an alien land; a man caught between two worlds locked in a death struggle only one would survive.

Don’t miss The Confessions of Gonzalo Guerrero.

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Read an excerpt! Here.

Update: The Confessions of Gonzalo Guererro has just received its first review, from the review website Readersfavorite.com. The review will be posted on their site when the book is released, but here is the review…

Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers’ Favorite. Posted 1/11/2015

5 stars

The Confessions of Gonzalo Guerrero is a brilliant book. Being taken into the mind of Gonzalo Guerrero and being able to understand what dilemmas he faced and what motivated him made for a very interesting narrative. The story begins with the young Gonzalo in Spain, hungry for excitement and adventure. However, the circumstances that lead him to become part of the Valdivia expedition are not purely a greed for the gold of the New World but also a need to escape the vindictive father of his first lover. He is later shipwrecked in a Mayan country and taken as a captive. In the town he is taken to, he is made a slave, but becomes anxious to escape to avoid the risk of being sacrificed. How he becomes an important member of the local army, marries the daughter of the local king, and gains the trust of the Mayan people in the fight against the Spaniards despite being a Spaniard himself is a fascinating story. Readers would enjoy the twists and turns of the plot, the excitement of the martial manoeuvres and strategies, the endearing moments of love from initial fascination to deeper understanding and connection.

Admittedly, I read the book under the wrong notion that it was a work of non-fiction – at the end I realised that it was in fact a clever work of fiction told in such a convincing way that I felt it natural to grasp the thoughts and character of the narrator, Gonzalo. The credit goes to author John Reisinger who has carefully crafted the events of the book to fit in with what is known of the Spaniards and Mayans, and of the historical conquests of the Spaniards. He has illustrated several situations in which the reader can savour the complexity of how the cultures clash and also what they have in common. A major theme is how religious fervor and tradition occasionally motivate people to perpetuate habits that are counter-productive. Also, there are several interesting moral dilemmas and dramatic moments, such as Gonzalo choosing whether to identify as a Mayan and whether to fight against the Spanish or return home, even when he recognises his own brother Hectore who joined the Spaniard invaders in order to look for him in the New World. Overall, it is an exciting and moving book which I highly recommend. I believe it could be adapted to be a great film.