Woman of a Thousand Secrets
St. Martin's, Sep 2008, $13.95
Her parents adopted Tonina as an infant although her much lighter skin meant she came from another land. She grew up tall, much taller than all the women and most of the men. Tonina was also competitive; rather than allow a potential suitor to defeat her in athletic contests; she participated and usually won especially in swimming. Finally her family worries that she has no man so they believe she must go from their tiny island to the nearby mainland seeking people just like her.
Her journey takes her to the Mayan Empire where she meets a barbarian outsider Kaan. They are attracted to one another, but he is married. When his wife dies, he begins the quest to insure her soul is cleansed. Soon Tonina joins him as they travel together to Mayapan bringing along an entourage of followers. However, Mayan Prince Balam has raised an army of many people with one battle in mind; destroy Kaan, who he holds culpable for all that has failed in his life. That means killing every follower who are both genders and all ages including elderly and children, but few soldiers.
WOMAN OF A THOUSAND SECRETS is a superb pre-Columbus Central American tale. The story line brings to life several cultures especially the Mayan, but to a lesser degree the islanders. Tonia is a fabulous central figure who holds the insightful plot together from the island to the mainland. Barbara Wood provides an entertaining Mayan Era historical.