The Aztec Empire is built on conquest. Not only does war bring tribute from the conquered, but it is also the source of prisoners for the temples--those unfortunates who must be sacrificed to the Aztec gods to maintain order in the universe. In a culture defined by blood and battle, it is only in war that a man can truly distinguish himself.Huemac is ready to fight. He is desperate to be a successful warrior--driven to earn the esteem of the citys veteran warriors and the respect of his clan and community. But as a student at the clan school, Huemac has little opportunity to prove himselfHis brother, Five Jaguar, has already returned from battle, bringing captives with him for the glory of the city and its gods. He is praised and celebrated by the other warriors and the people of their clan. And when an ancient matchmaker arranges a marriage between Five Jaguar and the young woman Huemac adores, he realizes that his older brother has everything he wants.Huemacs chance comes at last when Motehcuzoma, the Aztec king, must send an army out to conquer a city-state which resists his will. Huemac is one of those chosen to fight with the army for the first time.When he marches out of the city with the army, a gift is pressed into his hand. Who is it from? What does it signify? And once he sees for himself the truth--about war, about the empire, and about his life as an Aztec--will he be the same person?Will he return to the same world?