In the early 1500s, twenty-four year old Spanish Captain Luis Escudero is already a legend in Spain's professional army, living and fighting in her battles, gambling his life on the slim chance that one day he'll have eugh money to travel to that strange new world Christopher Columbus discovered just twenty five years ago. There he will build a ranch, leave the army and live in peace. Destiny takes a hand and Luis' gamble might just pay off if he can stay alive long eugh. King Carlos offers him command of a top secret expedition with orders to explore Mexico's Aztec empire and determine whether wild rumors of vast piles of gold and silver are true or just wild delusions of drunken sailors. Spain needs a quick infusion of gold to stave off a financial crisis. No European has ever set foot in that barbaric empire and crawled back to civilization alive, King Carlos tells Luis. It'll be an ermous challenge. You'll be outnumbered thousands to one-but if you and your men somehow manage to survive, return and verify there is gold, I'll dispatch Hernando Cortez and his conquistadors to seize it and ship it back to Spain! Captain Luis Escudero and his battle hardened mercenaries, the first Europeans to enter Mexico, set sail for the Aztec empire and this strange, mysterious adventure begins. Will the Aztecs allow foreign invaders to peacefully explore their historic land? Not if the Aztec army commander has anything to say about it. * * * Robert L. Foster is a member of Western Writers of America and has written many western articles for national magazines. He is a retired college professor and also the author of The Mutilators from Sunstone Press.