A Scattering of Jades by Alexander C. Irvine

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The great fire of 1835 burned most of New York City's wooden downtown. Like many people, Archie Prescott thought he had lost everything. His home was a smoldering ruin, his dead wife's body at his feet. And next to her is a child's corpse he assumes was his daughter. It seems like the end of everything.

But it is only the beginning.

Goaded into action by New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, Archie runs afoul of one of P. T. Barnum's former sideshow workers, Riley Steen. With the help of an ancient book translated by Aaron Burr, Steen has resurrected a chacmool. This ageless Mesoamerican avatar plans to use the blood of Archie's still-living daughter to bring about the end of humanity.

At the same time, Stephen Bishop guides tourists through the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Stephen, a slave, wants nothing more than a world where the color of his skin doesn't deny his humanity. His fateful first meeting with the chacmool leads him to believe that the promise it offers may bring him to such a world.

In the midst of ancient magic and murderous conspiracies, Archie finds himself with the power to save the world or drown it in sacrificial blood . . . but first he has to stop mourning his daughter and undertake a grim cross-country journey to save her.

About Alexander C. Irvine

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Alexander Irvine is a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan. His extraordinary stories have appeared in such places as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Starlight 3. He is a descendant of P T. Barnum and once worked as a roller-skating waiter. He currently resides in New England with his wife and twins.
Published July 5, 2002 by Tor Books. 448 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Scattering of Jades

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By 1843, once Prescott realizes that he's in danger and that Jane is alive, he pursues her and Steen down the Ohio River to Mammoth Cave, where Steen found the chacmool years before.

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SF Site

In this case, the gods are mostly Aztec gods, particularly Tlaloc, with a leavening of Lenni Lenape gods.

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Strange Horizons

But in Irvine's America, Aaron Burr conspires with his financial backer Harman Blennerhassett and an itinerant showman named Riley Steen to revive the Aztec god Tlaloc, whose return will bring about the time of the Sixth Sun, in which sacrificial fires will once again burn to the gods and the con...

Aug 19 2002 | Read Full Review of A Scattering of Jades

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