Where do we go wrong?
About 1350, the Valley of Mexico. The valley was then lake filled, with cities and towns arranging themselves between water and the encircling ring of mountains. The Mexica, or Aztecs as they are now most commonly known, have yet to rise to power; they are just one of the many city-states making up, as they knew it, the One World.
What we know of these people, crushed in an eye-blink by imported diseases and tempered steel, generally begins and ends with ritual blood sacrifice. Yet at that time they arguably had the most modern society of any in the world with, uniquely, free public education for all children, hospitals, efficiently managed public works, an ethical judicial system, and government supported associations that cared for the needy. The towns and cities were orderly, clean, prosperous and efficient. Which suggests that their society had both a rational and irrational aspect to it - like most.
A Distant Mountain is a story of transition, about how a society begins in one place and ends up, as they usually do, someplace entirely different.