Love. Friendship. Conquest.
Love between Alva Tlacuilotl and one of the Emperor Moctezuma’s daughters Tecuichpo, and also of friendship between two native Mexicans - Alva and Tlacotl a Mexica (Aztec) a princess. A second love story that mirrors the ancient one is between James, an English foreigner, and Olivia who is Mexican. Here we have a parallel encounter and a different kind of defeat - a modern reversal of the older story.
War. Victory. Defeat. Who - or what - will triumph?
The splendour and ruin of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, and the untidy, fecund profusion of Mexico City permeate the novel as these characters fight for the ultimate conquest, whatever that proves to be.