Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!
Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!

The Highlander  -  By Zoe Saadia

The Rise of the Aztecs, book 1

Born in the Highlands, Kuini thought his life was simple. You hunt and you fight, defending your towns against the raids of the Lowlanders and then raiding their lands in turn.  While friendship with the Lowlander boy, the First Son of the Texcoco Emperor, seemed harmless in the beginning, on the day Kuini agrees to finally enter the magnificent city, it would all change. He expected to get into trouble, but he could not foresee the extent of the trouble and, worst of all, he did not expect to uncover hidden secrets concerning his own family.

The Highlander (The Rise of the Aztecs, #1)Zoe Saadia's interest in and knowledge of the Pre-Columbian Americas really shines through in this historical tale. I do love reading historical fiction which is based in fact where the general population is concerned while at the same time giving you a real feel for what living in those ancient times would have been like. Usually, really great fiction can shine a mirror on our present day troubles and cares! The story itself is part of a saga of several books.



I enjoyed this journey into a culture I would otherwise know little about. I will admit that some references to the different regions and people confused me. The names in this book take a while to get used to. But I find this is true for ancient Egyptian names as well. So while some of the general conversations were a little garbled for me, the main points of the story were clear and concise. Each character was well developed and easy to identify with.


Saadia does a great job linking the story lines of Kuini, Coyotl, and Iztac. She has a fluidity to her storytelling that keeps the pace up and the plot interesting. She also brings out the beauty of the ancient society. While human sacrifices are mentioned (which is probably one of the most famous facts about this society), life within the city is lively and fun. Reasonings for things like sacrifices and warfare in ancient civilizations can be hard to understand to a modern thinker. However, Saadia is able to give understandable motivations and intentions.


This story encompasses elements of romance, family secrets, politics, friendship, and war. The ending of the book is actually a beginning for Coyotl and Kuini. I appreciated the details written into their lives as well as the historical facts Saadia is telling her story within. She makes history interesting. I look forward to reading more of this series.

My novels:

"Descendants of Avalon" 

Released via Inklings Publishing 

May 2018

"Heir of the Heretic"

("The Forgotten" volume 2)

Reviewed and awarded the

2016 Indie Editor's Choice

by the Historical Novel Society.

Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.

Reviewer for:

Historical Novel Society Volunteer

NetGalley Professional Reader

Reviews Published
25 Book Reviews
Challenge Participant

Top Goodreads Reviewer

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