There is some romance in the story which revolves around Inés who, innocently becoming one of the captains' mistresses, follows him on a venture to explore Chile. I imagine the photo on the cover is her daughter Isabel, to whom Inés is writing in her journal as a last means of clearning her conscience and confessing her sins before she dies. Isabel isn't even her daughter in blood, she's adopted. Yet, her memoirs really describe their relationship as truly genuine and weather tested.
The story is quite tragic on a personal level. Nobody could expect making such a voyage to the new world as she did, expecting to reunite with her beloved to find herself in a situation Inés bestows upon and not compensate for her loneliness. She was a feisty woman, perfect for the setting of a war torn srange land like Peru and Chile. I half expected to find some reference to Aguirre, the traitor, but instead read a passage in Inés' notes either reminding me of actual historical events as printed in history books, or inciting déjà vu. (As hard as I've tried tracing back my roots, I can't get any further than my great grandfather.)
I asked my dad what he knows about his roots, but anything I've already learned has been from him. He tells me, "I don't understand why people find it so interesting to trace their family tree. What good comes from doing that?" My parents seem to believe that their parents watch over them from heaven; so if that's possible, perhaps a person might be able to complete unfinished business that an ancestor may haunt him about.
Reading about some of the antics Francisco Aguirre performed made this book all the more interesting for me. That part where he rides his war horse to it's death reminds me of an incident when I was in Mexico riding a horse without brakes. He tore through the streets of a small pueblo (which did have automobiles) and didn't flinch at the traffic light being red. Angst! The chapter on Francisco's zombie-like state brought some kind of eerie feeling that I've read about him before, but I just couldn't place the actual book or event. I liked it and I'm giving this book my best rating. It is by far the book of the year for 2007.