Graham Hancock, an expert in ancient civilisations and author of the nine million selling Fingerprints of the Gods, and expert too, on the use of hallucinogens to achieve higher states of consciousness, brings these two interests together in the second volume of the War God trilogy.
The conquistador Hernan Cortes is dreaming of Tenochtitlan, the golden city of Aztecs. But in order to win the Aztecs' gold, Cortes and his small force of just 500 men will have to defeat the psychotic emperor Moctezuma and the armies of hundreds of thousands he commands.
Cortes expects that the Tlascalans, hereditary enemies of the Aztecs, will join him, but instead finds himself locked in a deadly struggle. As Cortes risks all against the Tlascalans, he plays mind games with Moctezuma, aiming to defeat the Aztec emperor psychologically before ever having to face him in battle.
In this he is aided by his lover Malinal, a beautiful Mayan princess. It is from Malinal that Cortes learns of the myth of Quetzalcoatl, 'The Plumed Serpent'. She shows him how to exploit the prophecy of the fabled god king's return to weaken Moctezuma's resolve and keep alive the suspicion that the conquistador might actually be Quetzalcoatl himself.