The Prince and the Coyote by David Bowles

Rating: 2/5

What It’s About:

1418 – Pre-Columbian Mexico

Fifteen-year old crown prince Acolmiztli wants nothing more than to see his city-state of Tetzcoco thrive. A singer, poet, and burgeoning philosophical mind, he has big plans about infrastructure projects and cultural initiatives that will bring honor to his family and help his people flourish. But the two sides of his family, the kingdoms of Mexico and Acolhuacan, have been at war his entire life – after his father risked the wrath of the Tepanec emperor to win his mother’s love.

When a power struggle leaves his father dead and his mother and siblings in exile, Acolmiztli must run for his life, seeking refuge in the wilderness. After a coyote helps him find his way in the wild, he takes on a new name – Nezahualcoyotl, or “fasting coyote” (“Neza” for short).

Biding his time until he can form new alliances and reconnect with his family, Neza goes undercover, and falls in love with a commoner girl, Sekalli. Can Neza survive his plotting uncles’ scheme to wipe out his line for good? Will the empire he dreams of in Tetzcoco ever come to life? And is he willing to risk the lives of those he loves in the process?

Levine Querido

Thank you to Levine Querido and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book released on October 10, 2023.

The Review

The Prince and The Coyote is the second book I’ve read by David Bowles. I really enjoyed Secret of the Moon Conch and was very excited for this new book. I also love that he is a fellow Texan! However, reading this book was not what I expected.

Bowles demonstrated a depth of knowledge on the historical, linguistic, and cultural aspects of the time period in Mexico. Even with my current interest in historical fiction set in Mexico and Mesoamerica, I struggled to make it through to the end. The military/political elements and Nahuatl language were also very difficult for me to process. I tried to keep up as best I could. The inclusion of so much historical elements slowed down the pacing of the story line.

The shining light of The Prince and Coyote were the characters and relationships. I loved the depiction of Nezahualcoyotl’s parents, siblings, and other characters in the story. Nezahualcoyotl’s parents have a permanent little place in my heart. They were a beautiful example of partnership in marriage and a parent’s love for their children. The story line of Nezahualcoyotl and coyote that he lives with while in exile is another one that was special.

Because of the length and amount of historical content in The Prince and the Coyote, I believe that this book would be appreciated by a specific niche of readers. I would be surprised if it found an audience among the young adults that it’s promoted towards. I loved the characters and relationships in the story, but the historical elements were too much for me to read through.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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