New Release Books by W George Lovell

W George Lovell is the author of Death in the Snow (2022).

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Death in the Snow

release date: Nov 29, 2022
Death in the Snow
Pedro de Alvarado is best known as the right-hand man of Hernando Cortés in the conquest of Mexico (1519–21) and the ruthless conqueror of Guatemala some years later. Far less known is his intent to intrude in the conquest of Peru and lay claim to Quito, a wealthy domain in the far north of the Inca Empire. To this end, Alvarado constructed a massive fleet, which sailed south from Central America to what is now Ecuador, making landfall on 25 February 1534. Engaging both the European and Indigenous contexts in which Alvarado operated, George Lovell illuminates this gap in the record, narrating a dramatic story of greed and hubris. Upon reaching Ecuador, Alvarado’s formidable entourage – some five hundred Spanish combatants and two thousand Indigenous conscripts – marched from the Pacific coast to the Andean sierra. Though Quito was his intended destination, he never made it. During a treacherous transit across the mountains, Alvarado’s party was engulfed by heavy snowfall and numbing cold, which proved the expedition’s undoing. Those who survived the ordeal discovered that other Spaniards – Diego de Almagro and Sebastián de BeLalcázar, acting in allegiance with Francisco Pizarro – had reached Quito before them, thereby claiming first right of conquest. Believing he had no option, if strife between rival sides was to be avoided, Alvarado sold his costly machinery of war – men, horses, weaponry, and ships – to those who had beaten him to the prize. All but ruined, he returned humiliated to Central America. Death in the Snow brings to light the delusions of one headstrong conquistador and mourns the loss of untold Indigenous lives, casualties of Alvarado’s lust for fame and fortune.

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