A new book Conquistador Voices (Spruce Tree Press, Oct. 2015) written for the general reader, gives you an insight into the odysseys of the explorers and warriors through the
eyes of those who journeyed with them.
In the two-volume set written for the general reader, author Kevin H. Siepel takes the reader along expeditions of five European explorers, using—to a greater extent than usual in historical works—the writings of the expedition participants allowing them to tell their own version of events, and supplying connecting narrative in the manner of a film documentary. So instead of a dry, standard narrative the reader gets , a series of cohesive, lively stories told by the men who were there.
In Volume I you are swept up in the four voyages of Christopher Columbus, along the way acquiring new insights into this complex man. You are then taken across the mountains of eastern Mexico with Hernán Cortés and his not-totally-willing army for the bloody conquest of the Aztec capital. Volume II first takes you high into the Andes with Francisco Pizarro as he and a handful of Spaniards bring down the mighty Inca empire. You are next invited to join the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, to be soon abandoned to the unspeakably harsh, years-long odyssey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions through the deserts of Texas and Mexico. And finally you will join the expedition of Hernando de Soto on its four-year-long journey through the southeastern US. Before you’re finished, you’ll clamber aboard fragile, unseaworthy craft for two desperate escapes by sea.
The book, which claims to be a “one-stop Conquest summary for the general reader,” is notable not only for its non-standard approach, but for the breadth of its coverage.
The author, who translated many of the original accounts himself, has resisted moralizing on the events, stating that “value judgments have been left to the reader.”
Conquistador Voices is available in paperback or e-book format through Amazon and other online sources.