|Clark Isaacs||May 25th 2009|
Cutting Edge Contributor
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. C. M. Mayo. Unbridled Books, 2009. 432 pages.
Fictional accounts of history often take liberties with how things really happened, but when C. M. Mayo wrote The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, she first traveled to the places whence the stories emanated. Mayo traversed Mexico, the United States, and many European countries to tell the engaging story of love, betrayal, and ultimately the death of one of the members of a royal family.
Reading achieves in the Library of Congress in Washington led her to other locales where she read many documents in the original language and translated them herself so that her characters could speak words as originally spoken.
With this strong factual foundation, the story of a young prince, Maximilian, and those intertwined in the royal family's lives, becomes a spellbinding tale of deceit and selfishness. Mayo gives us a glimpse into an era not far removed from today. 1866 was a time when healing from the civil war had begun in the United States and also when the French occupied Mexico. Staying clear of entanglement with another battle was foremost in the minds of Americans. A civil war in Mexico was brewing, and this novel gives an inside look at the motives and the opulence, and at the same time, describes the extreme poverty endured by the Mexican people on a daily basis, while the ‘visitors’ lived luxurious lives. These ‘visitors’ included Maximilian; French Generals, and their entourages.
What may appear as free flowing dialog describing actions that did take place is based upon a meticulous approach to real facts. Getting inside a person’s mind and describing their feelings is somewhat difficult. The brilliance of this novel is the manner in which Mayo achieves this incredible task by using flowery language, which is believable considering the turbulent times and the seriousness of the circumstances.
On your next trip, take this book with you. If you are traveling to Mexico, you will find new destinations that may pique your interest, such as the remains of Maximilian’s residences, which are described in this book. The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is highly recommended as an entertaining read, with a strong Mexican heritage and a liberal interpretation of history.
Clark Isaacs writes the "Eye on Books" column.