Simon Levack trained as a solicitor and still works in the legal profession. He lives in east London with his wife and son. A DEMON OF THE AIR is his first novel.
Levack's second 16th-century Aztec mystery (after 2005's impressive Demon of the Air) is another intellectual page-turner that will satisfy even those with no previous knowledge of the ancient Central American civilization. The novel picks up moments after its predecessor's dramatic conclusion. The complex and all-too-human Yaotl, a former priest, has just learned that he is a father and that his son is connected with a murder mystery he was probing at the request of Montezuma himself. As he tries to protect his son, Yaotl faces further challenges after he stumbles into a new inquiry involving a brutal killing and sightings of the dread god Quetzalcoatl that have driven the local population into near panic. The author matches impressive period research with tight plotting and the rare ability to make the inhabitants of a different world and time seem familiar. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Lords picks up right where the much-acclaimed Demon of the Air (Minotaur, 2005) leaves off. In mid-16th-century Mexico, Yaotl, an ex-priest and now a slave, solved his first mystery, only to discover that his grown son was involved, however innocently, in the crime. Now, caught up in more Aztec politics, religion, and cultural issues, he must solve another mystery while trying to protect his son. Back at his master's house, he learns that the god Quetzalcoatl has been seen staggering down the streets of the capital, in full-feathered splendor, and Yaotl ends up sleuthing in the rarified atmosphere of the feather workers. Levack has created a memorable detective; this Aztec equivalent of the seen-it-all canny gumshoe barely manages to escape most of the wrath of his owner, Lord Feathered in Black. The author has included helpful explanations, with maps, information on Nahuatl (the Aztec language), and access to the Aztec calendar, but it is Levack's writing that makes it surprisingly easy to find sure footing in this very alien culture. It would be best to begin with the first book; this novel ends with Yoatl facing an uncertain future as well. The book is fascinating, but teen historical fiction and mystery readers may have to be encouraged to pick it up. They will be glad that they did.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.