In the Land of the Feathered Serpent by Richard C. Brusca is a spellbinding meld of a classic and historical novel with a vividly, finely drawn setting in the US during Reagan's leadership between 1981 and 1984. The political atmosphere is characterized by turmoil as the US entangles with regimes in central America. Odel Bernini is the chief curator of a famous history museum in Seattle. He dabbles in archaeology and occasionally teaches at a college in Tacoma. Encouraged by his wife, herself the daughter of an American cultural attaché, Bernini approaches the CIA to offer his services in exchange for ''some silly things.'' What begins as an exciting adventure for him with his first appointment quickly morphs into a dangerous game when he finds himself in dire straits. Working on getting intel for the CIA, he plunges deeper and deeper into dangerous places. Tension escalates as the Guatemalan army looks for him. Can he succeed in evading them or will he be consumed by the force unleashed against him?
This is a captivating tale that features political intrigue, a dangerous game of espionage, love and lust, and one man's struggle to stay alive against political enemies while dealing with the burden of a devastating affair with a woman he meets on his first assignment in a bar. The story will appeal to fans of Classics, especially those who enjoy Homer's Odyssey. The elaborately written and nuanced characters will remind readers of Homer's characters — Penelope, Laertes, Agelaus, Elatus, Skylla, Eumaeus, Nestor, Eurycleia, and many more. The historical setting in the US is skillfully accomplished. Readers navigate a story with a classical feel while pulling them into a familiar world. The prose is lyrical and Brusca excels at building tension, keeping the eyes of readers riveted on the protagonist who seems to totter continuously under the weight of his own choices and destiny. He is, at times, naïve, but his passion is the defining attribute of his life. The prose is dazzling, cinematic, and lyrical. The story explores intimate themes while offering characters that are not just lovely but also deeply resonant. In the Land of the Feathered Serpent is a novel that reclaims and refashions the literary beauty of the classics. A delight to read.