One man running for his life during the last days of the Mayan civilization. The story focuses on Jaguar Paw, who is a hunter in Mayan Central America. One day his tribe comes under attack from a group of ruthless slave traders led by Zero Wolf. He manages to hide his wife and son in a secluded cave before being captured.
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The slave traders take the tribesmen including Jaguar Paw to a large city. Along the way we see ample evidence of this civilization's decline. The prisoners are handed over to the city's opulent priests, to be sacrificed atop a pyramid. Just before it's Jaguar Paw's turn, a solar eclipse occurs. Viewing it as a positive omen from the gods, the remaining prisoners are returned to Zero Wolf. He sets his warriors loose upon the prisoners, but Jaguar Paw manages to escape, killing one warrior in the process. Zero Wolf takes a hunting party and begins chasing Jaguar Paw.
Jaguar Paw is now in his own territory and manages to stay ahead of Zero Wolf and his men, while one by one they fall prey to the jungle's dangers. Jaguar Paw races towards the cave where his wife and child are waiting for him. Eventually Zero Wolf catches up to him and seems certain to kill Jaguar Paw, but he falls into his foe's trap and is killed.
The injured Jaguar Paw rescues his family and together they reach the edge of the jungle. There they witness an awe-inspiring event: the arrival of the Spanish explorers in their ships. They look on apprehensively and return into the jungle, uncertain of their future.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the underlying theme of the decline of civilization. On top of this we have an exciting chase story with a very immediate danger and clear purpose.
Best scene in story:
My favourite scene is the one where Jaguar Paw is being chased by the black jaguar, while also running from Zero Wolf's group. The camera focuses on Zero Wolf and his men as they look through the dense jungle for Jaguar Paw, culminating in extreme violence. There is great tension as the jungle gains an ominous presence.
Opinion about the main character:
Jaguar Paw is a master of his environment, and uses it to his advantage while fighting for his life. He is brave and his ultimate goal is rescuing his family.