Rumor has it on the streets of sixteenth-century New Spain, there’s a new vigilante in town serving justice. This reimagining of Zorro—featuring a heroic warrior sorceress—weaves Mesoamerican mythology and Mexican history two decades after the Spanish conquest into a swashbuckling, historical debut fantasy with magic, intrigue, treachery, and romance.
A new legend begins…
In sixteenth-century New Spain, witchcraft is punishable by death, indigenous temples have been destroyed, and tales of mythical creatures that once roamed the land have become whispers in the night. Hidden behind a mask, Pantera uses her magic and legendary swordplay skills to fight the tyranny of Spanish rule.
To all who know her, Leonora de las Casas Tlazohtzin never leaves the palace and is promised to the heir of the Spanish throne. The respectable, law-abiding Lady Leonora faints at the sight of blood and would rather be caught dead than meddle in court affairs.
No one suspects that Leonora and Pantera are the same person. Leonora’s charade is tragically good, and with magic running through her veins, she is nearly invincible. Nearly. Despite her mastery, she is destined to die young in battle, as predicted by a seer.
When an ancient prophecy of destruction threatens to come true, Leonora—and therefore Pantera—is forced to decide: surrender the mask or fight to the end. Knowing she is doomed to a short life, she is tempted to take the former option. But the legendary Pantera is destined for more than an early grave, and once she discovers the truth of her origins, not even death will stop her.
Mariely Lares is a Mexican-American writer of fiction. Born in the only hospital of a small town in Southern California—which, fun fact, is also Cher’s birthplace—she grew up straddling two worlds, crossing the border almost every day. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she holds a degree in Computer Science Engineering and lives in San Diego, where she can be found doing all the outdoorsy things, rescuing dogs, and writing her next book.
"An exhilarating tale of revolution, original magic, and divided loyalties, Sun of Blood and Ruin is a triumph. Rich with vivid characters, and an immersive landscape, Lares weaves a breathtaking, complex story grounded in Mesoamerican myth that pulls the reader into a fantastical journey of self-discovery, courage, and the meaning of freedom. Don't miss this one!"
— Ehigbor Okosun, author of Forged by Blood
"Lares makes a triumphant debut with a vivid epic set in an alternate 16th-century colonial Mexico...Lares has a talent for historic detail and...the vast supporting cast is equally well integrated and easy to keep track of despite its size. Interweaving history, mythology, romance, and swashbuckling action, this is a surefire hit." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Sun of Blood and Ruin is an exciting adventure with plenty of swordplay and magic, but is also a beautiful love letter to pre-colonialist Mesoamerican cultures." — Christina Orlando, Tor.com
"A fast-paced, smart historical fantasy...Weaving together narrative strands of identity, colonialism, indigenous belief and self-determination with swashbuckling adventure, Sun of Blood and Ruin introduces a powerful new voice to the genre."
— Grimdark Magazine
"[An] ambitious debut... Ideal for speculative-fiction readers longing for a fresh setting, Zorro fans, and those looking for a nuanced historical-fantasy treatment reminiscent of Rebecca Roanhorse and R.F. Kuang." — Booklist
"Lares’s debut is an action-filled historical fantasy set in an alternate 16th-century Mexico, featuring Mesoamerican mythology and a unique blend of magic and adventure." — Library Journal