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The Conquest

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A perfect combination of history, passion, imagination and scholarship, Yxta Maya Murray's The Conquest pulses with the intangible essence that separates the books we love from the few that forever imprint themselves in our minds.

A restorer of rare books and manuscripts, Sara Gonzales lives in a solitary world filled with dusty broken books. A born reader, Sara is doing wi
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Rayo (first published 2002)
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This fascinating novel centers around Sara Rosario Gonzales, a restorer of rare books and manuscripts at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. When Sara is assigned to restore a 16th century manuscript about a female Aztec juggler enslaved by Cortes and sent to Europe to entertain the Pope as well as Emperor Charles V, she doesn't realize the power of the tale she's about to immerse herself into.

The juggler, we find, is determined to take revenge on the king of the empire who contributed to the slau
I thought this novel was a pretty good read, not very long, didn't bore me. Ms. Murray's work has not achieved overwhelming favor here on goodreads. The most highly rated of her novels is Locus, her first book, and the one which resulted in her winning the 1999 Whiting award for fiction. She apparently has not left her day job to write full time - she is a professor at Loyola Law School.

This sits on my "historical fiction" shelf because of one half of the story, which is contained in an old book
Howard Cincotta
I thought this might be another Shadow of the Wind book, and while it does feature my favorite plot device -- a mysterious manuscript -- it becomes a standard romance novel, if a little better written than most.

We have our beautiful and plucky heroine (a manuscript restorer at the Getty Museum) and our impossibly upright and gorgeous hero (Marine officer aspiring to be an astronaut) ... and the formula then plays out.

The positive: a well-written depiction of the restorer's work and the workings
I read this years before I found this Goodreads site, and this book was definitely a Good Read. I still remember the story vividly--so many amazing characters. The main character was a woman who worked as a restorer of antique books at a museum in LA, called the Getty, I think. She begins work on a text in which the writer claims to be an ancient (15th century?) Aztec woman, who learns to focus her mind and kinetically control the juggler's balls and entertain the Aztec king. She is then capture ...more
This is one of those books that didn't quite work for me until everything came together at the end. Not that the plot or characters weren't related or didn't make sense; I ended up really liking the story as a sum of its parts rather than the individual story lines. Sara was depressed, lonely, isolated, and a bit obsessed with her work - tough characteristics to enjoy reading in a novel. Her isolation radiated off the page and made me feel a bit unnerved. I loved the story-within-a-story, though ...more
Fernanda Luppani
Un libro que cuenta la historia de una restauradora de libros antiguos del Museo de Paul Getty en el sur de California, de ancestros Mexicanos e Indigenas. Dentro de esta historia, la historia del personaje principal del libro que se restaura e investiga por la restauradora. Una linda historia de amor, tragedia, iluciones, magia, y sobrevivencia. Este es el tipo de historia que me gusta leer. Un personaje solitario y dedicado a su pasion que nos cuenta de su vida con el toque del realismo magico ...more
I'm not sure how I feel about The Conquest... I love books about books and the people who love them, but Sara, the rare book restorer who is the main character of this novel, is dreadfully unlikeable. Sara is on a quest to discover the mysteries behind the book she is restoring but also to win back her estranged lover, who is getting married to another woman. While I understand how a person can become totally immersed in a book and bewitched by the content in its pages, I did not find myself roo ...more
The premise of this book was interesting and it was on some top reading list, so I decided to read it. The beginning of the book started off ok, but then just went off in a different direction than I was prepared for after the first couple of chapters. I did like the way the author bounced back and forth between the "book" narrative the character was restoring and the actual plot.

However, the only reason why I kept ploughing through the book to the end was to congratulate myself on being able t
La Conquista es una novela única que nos da la esperanza de que el amor verdadero sí existe, y que la historia, en toda su complejidad, es la que nos impulsa hacia nuestro destino. Sara Rosario Gonzáles lleva una existencia relativamente tranquila, como restauradora de libros y manuscritos antiguos en el Getty Museum de Los Ángeles. Pero cuando se encuentra ante la tarea de restaurar un manuscrito del siglo XVI sobre una princesa azteca que fue esclavizada por Cortés y enviada a Europa para dive ...more
Izzy G
Aug 04, 2007 Izzy G rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking for something off the beaten path
Shelves: ifyouhavetime
Besides being a prof at my Alma Mater (LMU Law), Yxta is like totally smart and really cute. The appeal to SOCAL Natives like myself is obvious - References to Camp Pendleton, The Getty, etc. But more than that, the novel is a solid read that keeps you hooked. The main character is a restorer of ancient books at the Getty who is determined to prove the truth behind an ancient manuscript. She becomes consumed by an ancient text she is working on and a parallel story emerges. Check it out if you h ...more
"I store soldiers' stories in gilded rooms, even as those same soldiers burned other, strange libraries."
This book has two stories that weave together. One story is set in the present and the other is a fantastical story of the 1500s. It reminded me of Like Water for Chocolate in the way that the lines between real & surreal are blurred. I liked it but you have to be prepared to suspend your disbelief.
A very imaginative and sensual tale of a book restorer whose own passion comes to life while she's researching the escapades of an Aztec princess, who after being enslaved by Cortes and sent to Europe, became a powerful courtesan. A great book for historical fiction lovers.
Lindsey Cook
An interesting read, a little slow in the beginning, i found one part of the story more interesting then the other. but the present day story got more interesting near the middle of the book.
I felt like reading a weekend love novel. The author's style was better than we could find in those novels, but the plot ... Maybe my expectations were too high.
Anna Mercado
Love, Murder, Magic and Seduction. A book to get lost in.
I would have rated the book with 4 stars but I was disappointed with the ending and the choice that Sara made.

The story was really interesting, probably deserving of a 4, but I didn't care for the author's writing style, and the modern love story dragged on a little too much.
Marie Villanueva
Liked this book because it had good historical references about the conquest, also had a good fictional story that played along well with the history of the conquest.
This is the book I never knew I've always wanted to read. It resonated with me down to my bones, and I was stunned with euphoria for days.
Murray really channels that poetic dreaminess common among Latin American writers, but the plotting's a bit thin for my taste.
I thought this book was okay...a bit boring at times & really predictable though..
Dawn (& Ron)
Thanks Tara, saw the review of the Spanish version come up in the feed.
Insight into book restoration.
Feb 15, 2008 Mellissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mellissa by: Powell's
Shelves: 2006
Victoria Elaine
Victoria Elaine marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Martha Richardson
Martha Richardson marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Erica marked it as to-read
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Daring marked it as to-read
Dec 09, 2014
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Yxta Maya Murray is a professor at Loyola Law School and currently lives in Studio City, California.
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“Books make dangerous devils out of women.” 23 likes
“Every morning, after a few sips of coffee and a bit of small talk, each of us retreats with our books, and travels centuries away from this place.” 3 likes
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