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Five Dances with Death: Dance One

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In the days before the Conquistadors, Angry Wasp is fighting to keep his family and his small Aztec nation alive.

Slavers have kidnapped his daughter. His wife has turned to powerful sorcery. His people have challenged Montezuma's dominance and now face extinction. And the Spaniards have begun their march inland.

Now Wasp must rely on his military prowess, wit and even dark
Kindle Edition
Published by Helvetic House (first published July 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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Tarrin Lupo
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was not sure what to expect from this book, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I am a history nut, so I picked it up thinking this was a historical fiction. I quickly figured out it was more like a fantasy crossed with a historical fiction. I really liked how the author grounded his work with real history but then added some gods and magic into the mix. It was an interesting style that was pretty unique, but I have to admit it grew on me and by the end I really enjoyed it. I liked t ...more
Sarah Castillo
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Austin Brigg's debut novel, Five Dances with Death, is a historical fantasy set during the time of the Spanish Conquest in Mexico. It follows the story of Wasp, the war leader of the Tlaxcalteca, who are besieged by the Mexica.

This book is fantastic. I just need to get that out there straight off. If you're at all interested in historical fantasy, or non-western thought, or Meso-American history, go ahead, go to Amazon and buy it. You won't regret it. Unless you hate gore and violence. It's not
E.S. Wynn
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If this book had been my introduction to historical fiction (instead of Johnny Tremain) I might have tried to follow in Austin Briggs' footsteps (instead of Asimov's!) Five Dances With Death: Dance One is a fascinating foray into Nahuatl culture (native Mesoamericans) that captures the ritualistic, spiritual and all-pervasive violence of this distant and (to me) mysterious setting.

I can honestly say that from the start, Dance One grabbed me in a way that few books can, filling my mind with Brigg
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Five Dances with Death is a historical/fantasy adventure in which, much like the sorceress Plume plunges her husband into ethereal travel, the reader is firmly immersed in a distant time and place to live in the mind and body of Angry Wasp as he tries to save both his country and his daughter during the onset of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

The writing is a perfect blend of description while maintaining the feeling of having been translated, which grants the the storytelling an authentic voic
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in historical fiction, particularly involving Meso-American culture
Recommended to Katy by: Austin Briggs
Shelves: ebook
“Five Dances with Death” is a historical fiction novel, based on the time when the Spaniards were just beginning their advances into Meso-America with their related destruction of the indigenous culture, religion and independence. Wasp is the war leader of the Tlaxcala and he has been learning sorcery from his wife, Broken Plume, in his attempts to find his daughter, Dew, who he lost into slavery when she was just a baby. He achieves his searches through astral projection, basically, and during ...more
Elizabeth Marshall
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely amazing book this is.

I started reading it almost exactly twenty four hours ago and have literally done nothing else since.

You don’t believe me?
Well I dimly noticed the sun rise over the hills this morning and wondered when it had set, because the last memory I had was switching my kindle on yesterday and starting to read.

Austin Briggs is a man of immense talent, skill and knowledge. Through this book he has brought to life a people and a time long since lost to our world.

Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review of Five Dances With Death, Dance One
Austin Briggs has written a good historical/supernatural book about the Aztecs of Mexico. The book begins in 1516. It also relates to the Spaniards as well as the Mayans, Olmec and Toltecs, people of Mexico. The "outlanders" are the Spanish who came in ships. The Aztec Empire is called "One World".
Angry Wasp is searching for his daughter, Dew, who was captured by his enemy, Talon. The beginning of the book has Angry Wasp and Talon at the ballcourt for
Vanessa Wu
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I weren't such a clean-living teetotaller, I'd recommend that before starting this book you down a stiff glass of crème de cacao and take a deep draw on some devil's weed. It's heady stuff and it makes me want to get high.

However, being a rather fragile Asian who falls over after a sip of spirits, I had to be satisfied with several cups of Choco Aztec Spice Yogi Tea (readily available from Amazon).

I was right there in the thick of the action, though, whirling my sword in battle with the Mayan
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
The protagonist, Angry Wasp, is in some ways like most men. He tells another warrior that women aren't important. Yet his sorceress wife is not only more powerful than Angry Wasp but his actions show that he cares deeply about her even though he doesn't express it. I found him a very believable character.

Angry Wasp can also be unexpectedly insightful. His shamanistic abilities which he acquired through his wife's teaching assist him in this area.

I very much appreciated the spiritual aspect of t
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was certainly a one of a kind story setting. I don't think I've ever read a historical fiction novel set in south america, no less in the 1500s. The book is in many ways a story of death, and Austin displays just how brutal (by our means) and war-mongering the indians of that time were. But among all sights of war, it is also a story of religion, belief, and of protecting ones family. Wasp, the war leader of a small indian nation faces many struggles while seeking for his lost daughter, pleas ...more
Quentin Stewart
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Austin Briggs does an excellent job of put historical events into an interesting story. The beginning of the conquest of ancient Mexico is the setting of Angry Wasp's attempts to save his people. The book gives us a view of what it might have been like for the natives who faced the first contacts with the Europeans. His first contact comes as he and his wife are searching for his daughter who has been enslaved by an enemy tribe. He becomes fascinated with these "outlanders" and wants to learn mo ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
Different from anything I have ever read before, “Five Dances With Death” by Austin Briggs is definitely an intense read. It’s very apparent that a lot of research went into the creation of this story. The writing is extremely descriptive and the world came alive. It felt like I was in an environment similar to “Apocalypto” with magic and sorcery added into the mix. Even though there were some fantastical elements, it still read more like historical fiction to me than fantasy. It felt very real. ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
A moving story about the man, Angry Wasp and his attempt to fight against the Spaniards to defend the Aztec Empire. What makes this historical fiction intriguing was the introduction of dark sorcery and demonic creatures. Briggs does a splendid job walking the fine line between history and fiction.

The story is fast-paced with lots of action but it's also quite emotional, as we see Wasp feverishly look for his lost daughter. Speaking of him, Wasp is a strong character who is very driven, to the p
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love Aztec culuture
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Austin Briggs
This book is the debut novel of a new series by author Austin Briggs, and if the title is any indication, I am expecting five books. I certainly hope that this is the case. Briggs crafts a beautifully written story centering around Wasp, the war lord of the Tlaxcalteca, a tribe of the Aztecs. This first book takes place as the various tribes of the Aztecs are warring with each other in the perennial fight for land and mastery within the Aztec nation. At the same time, the Spanish Conquistadors h ...more
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Five Dances with Death tells the story of Angry Wasp, war commander of the Tlaxcalteca army in the early 1500s. His story is a mystifying one with a strong supernatural element.

There are two things that are important to Wasp, finding his daughter, who has long been lost as a slave and defending the welfare of his people. It is with the first reason that his story begins with a ball game that gives him the opportunity to win his daughter, Dew back. He loses the game but not the battle and soon w
Elise Stokes
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
(Not suitable for readers under 18)

Hands down, Austin Briggs knows his stuff. His years spent researching the history of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish Conquest is evident in the first installment of this dark tale that he masterfully weaves in a fluid and engaging writing style. He paints a vivid picture of the Aztec life, fascinating and at other times shocking, due to the violent nature of the Aztec culture and religion. Excellent writing is meaningless, however, if the characters don’t lea
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I agree with the Goodread reviewers who felt this book was totally different than what they were expecting. I felt like I could have been reading a contemporary novel instead of one set in the time of the Aztecs with how Austin wrote the book and allowed the reader to get to know the characters, yet just when I thought I had my reading pattern set, it switched. I never got bored while reading this book.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting read, recommended for those who enjoy or love historical fiction.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you’re a fan of historical novels, are interested in the Aztecs, and would like to try something different, you’ll enjoy Five Dances with Death: Dance One, by Austin Briggs.

Written in first person from the point of view of Angry Wasp, the story begins in 1516, during the era of the Spanish Conquest in Mexico. Angry Wasp, military leader of Tlaxcala, wants to keep his nation safe and search for his lost daughter, Dew, whom he’d lost to one of the leaders of an enemy tribe, a man named Talon.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was almost immediately struck with the unique feel he gives to the book. It's centered around an Aztec village, Tlaxcala, where a man, Angry Wasp, has lost his daughter to a warring tribe and is trying to get her back by any means possible.

I loved the idea that death was present throughout the novel. It wasn't depressing or dark, but simply a fact. I also really enjoyed the setting and the realistic feel of it. You can tell that Briggs has the knowledge necessary to write a story about the Mex
Well, this took a really long time to read. Partly, this was because I only had it as an ebook and until I got my smart phone a month ago I had to read the book on my laptop, which was uncomfortable and hard to do. That aside, the story was a very unique experience for me.
I'm not familiar with this time and place, so names, rituals, even the locations in the story were confusing. Events were also very confusing. The author kept losing me as the character Angry Wasp jumps from sorcery trances to
Julie Salinas
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read, but I could only say that when I got to the end. The book starts with promise, using a culture not written about often from the mid americas. The war chief, Wasp, and one of his wives lost a child to another tribe, but they don't know where she is. He also is the leader of the warriors and senses the danger coming to the lands, strangers coming on ships that don't speak the language and pose a threat. As I said, there is promise, but this was a slow read for me as s ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The author has a gift for writing and I would have rated it higher if it weren't for the fact that the protagonist of this book/series is not a likable character in so many ways. When I stumble onto such characters, it affects my overall satisfaction with a book; thus, the removal of a star from a piece of writing that would have normally earned a four star rating from me. Also, the fact that the people/culture represented in this book didn't see anything wrong with the ritual sacrifices of huma ...more
Nicole Roberts
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is all bout Aztec culture and mythologies. I don't know much about the culture or the mythologies so this was hard to follow in some places. I really appreciate that the author adjusted the names from the original language, only because it would be difficult to follow if you are not familiar with the language to begin with.

I thought the story was semi-interesting, I think my lack of full attention is due to my own ignorance on the culture. I more than likely would not follow up on the
David Leroy
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I think the authors choice of using mystical experiences, out of body, or remote viewing in the context of this culture and time is brilliant. Plus, it is very interesting to follow the "mystical warrior" new challenges, in the unfamiliar world, who was once young, confident, and strong in the physical world. ...more
I have always been interesting in history so I always like reading books with any connection to it. I enjoyed the writing and characters of Five Dances but I feel like I missed something along the way. I may re read it to get a better feel, see if I did indeed miss something.
Ali Crain
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this but it was a difficult read for me.
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Goodreads Authors...: Five Dances with Death: Dance One 2 22 Oct 03, 2011 12:23PM  
My name’s Austin Briggs. I’ve spent over 10 years researching the history of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish Conquest with a dream of creating a historical fiction series that would fascinate readers who like a good history-based tale. I even went so far as to experience some of the magical rites of the ancient Mexica myself.

I’ve always been obsessed with learning about other cultures; in additio

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