A 16th-century letter from the conquistador Hernan Cortes was listed for sale by Swann Galleries before academic sleuths discovered it had been stolen from Mexico’s national archive.
The letter is signed “El Marques,” a hereditary ruling title granted to Cortes by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1529. The letter is from 1521—the same year as the fall of Tenochtitlan—suggesting Cortes assigned himself the title years before it was made official.
The amateur detectives started their investigation after realizing Cortes letters were showing up after decades had passed without any appearing on the market. The most conclusive evidence is a microfilm image of the document from 1993, taken in Mexico’s national archives.
What if one of Mexico’s leading researchers leads a heist to get their cultural heritage back?
Numerous pages from a single ancient document have been stolen and scattered throughout the world. When compiled and read aloud in front of an ancient Aztec temple, the document releases ancient magic lying dormant in Aztec descendants.
Magical occurrences follow the researcher, always random and out of their control.
After successfully retrieving the first page, an ancient society appears that warns the researcher against continuing their quest. The organization exists to ensure the magic doesn’t ever return. Throughout the story, the researcher has to uncover where the documents are, get them back, and discover why the mysterious group doesn’t want them compiled and read aloud.
It turns out that the society is descended from Hernan Cortes himself.
The main character grew up in Mexico City and was made fun of because of their indigenous appearance. Bringing back the ancient magic will elevate their status, along with the rest of those deemed too dark-skin or native-looking.
As the documents are brought back, the hero is accepted into Mexico City’s mainstream society, and their prior research about the impact of the Catholic Church on the region given attention—what they always wanted.
The decision comes down to abandoning their goal of compiling the document and accepting a large grant to study the generational impact of the Catholic missionaries or go overseas, gather the last page, and read it aloud.
The book ends with an escape from the society and the ignition of the Aztec powers, setting up other books.