John Alexander's life has been a difficult one. His childhood was spent in foster care, orphanages, and reform school. Years of emotional and physical abuse have helped him form a protective shell of anger and cynicism. Worn out on social workers and parole officers, Alexander attempts to start a new life studying folklore and anthropology in Mexico where he imagines he will be free. However, he discovers that freedom has its own price and its own politics.Early 1960s Mexican villages and rural communities are losing their youth to the big cities' modern lifestyle. At the same time, the United States government is interfering with its southern neighbor's politics, fixating on Cuba and the spread of communism. The self-exiled Alexander is forced to flee Mexico City as a fugitive because he gets caught up in a sensational murder mystery and the covert schemes of the world's superpowers. He seeks asylum in communities steeped in Aztec traditions and is offered a rare glimpse of a world rapidly being swallowed up by modern-day Mexico.
David E. Stuart, of Albuquerque, is the author of The Guaymas Chronicles and Zone of Tolerance, and the novel, The Ecuador Effect (UNM Press), and numerous books on Southwestern anthropology, including Anasazi America (UNM Press). Stuart was senior academic administrator for many years and is professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico.