When you come right down to it, life is about decisions. We are constantly deciding on a course of action, and dealing with the results. Many decisions are simple; what socks do I wear today? When do we have dinner? Some decisions are harder because we have limited information. Which movie do we see if they are both new and unreviewed? Some decisions are harder because the consequences of a wrong decision are great. What should my major be in college?
We tend to think that when we make a decision, it is either the right decision or the wrong one. The most difficult decisions, however, do not have a “right” course of action; both alternatives are undesirable and fraught with danger hardship and uncertainty. In my just released eBook, The Confessions of Gonzalo Guerrero, one man faces just this sort of gut-wrenching decision.
Spaniard Gonzalo Guerrero comes to the New World in 1511 seeking his fortune, but a storm shipwrecks him among the mysterious Maya. He struggles to survive and come to grips with this alien civilization that has highly developed writing, mathematics, building and astronomy, but which is constantly at war and practices grisly human sacrifice and even cannibalism. He knows he is far from home and farther from any hope of rescue, so he slowly adapts and learns the language, but he still yearns for Spain. Then he meets Zazil Ha, an extraordinary woman who captures his heart. As he rises in Mayan society, he is able to marry Zazil Ha. Within a few years they have three children and life is good. Guerrero no longer thinks much about his former life. This is his world now.
Then the Spaniards arrive, bent on conquest and Guerrero’s world is shattered. What should he do? Should he abandon his Mayan family and return to the land of his birth? Could he betray people who, whatever their faults, have come to trust and depend on him? He can’t uproot his new family and take them to Spain, where they will be a curiosity at best, and the subject of suspicion at worst. Should he stay, only to watch the Spaniards overrun his new home? Guerrero is caught between the land of his birth and the woman of his heart. There are no good alternatives.
He decides to stay and to use his knowledge of Spanish ways and tactics to help the Mayans resist the Spanish invasion. Twice the Spaniards send messengers and twice he refuses. The man who a few years earlier just wanted to go back to Spain becomes a renegade.
It’s an amazing true story of a man who must decide between very bad alternatives and then live (or die) with the result.
Here is the video trailer for the book.’