The Silver Llama is the final novel of the Tihuantinsuyo Quartet, and though it stands alone like each of the previous three, it has many of the same characters and winds up plot threads from the previous three books. The title refers to a llama statuette that the narrator and his friend discovered near Ocros, Peru, in 1969 before it was stolen from them in the first novel, Riders on the Nio Storms. It reappears two decades later as an object of obsession like the Maltese Falcon, a central symbol and flywheel of the plot. A plot is nothing without interesting characters, and specifically, Proust is a model for the analyses of their sexual relations and jealousies. Combining Hammett and Proust may seem an odd recipe, but the characters dont have inherited wealth like those of Proust, and though quite cultured, they live in a different world that sometimes requires them to get their hands dirty. The third novel, The Coca Bums, shows the dirt well and also plays on the gradations of morality the characters experience living in a developing nation, a continually readjusting slide rule of situational ethics. Most of the principal characters are Americans, so this novel says as much about America as it does about Peru, from a new and distant, hopefully engaging and entertaining point of view.