Books

The Empire of Yearning

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Year: HarperCollins Canada, 2013
Synopsis: On a rainy afternoon in 1864, a gunman enters a Mexico City restaurant armed with an antiquated English flintlock pistol. His purpose: to assassinate a conservative army officer named General Leonardo Márquez.The plan goes hopelessly awry, and it is left to the gunman’s lifelong friend, a bookish young Mexican named Diego Serrano, to pick up the pieces—if he can.But Mexico is in turmoil, bankrupt and riven by war, with its liberal president, Benito Juárez, in northern exile and an Austrian noble on a precarious throne. In these powder keg circumstances, the bungled assassination sets off an explosive chain reaction: a drama of loyalty and deceit, honour and dishonour, that unfolds against a backdrop of imperial splendour and brutal conflict. Diego is eventually forced to make an irreversible choice, and his decision has seismic consequences for him and his nation.

The Dark Virgin: A novel of Mexico

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Year: HarperCollins Canada, 2001
Published in: English, Spanish, Italian
Synopsis: The Dark Virgin is the tale of Pitoque, a traveling merchant in the Aztec empire of sixteenth-century Mexico. Pitoque is a reluctant spy for the ruler Moctezuma, who is desperate to discover the truth about the strange reports of beings who look like men but who are taller, paler, and rank in odour. Are these creatures the envoys of the man-god Quetzalcoatl? Pitoque can't be sure, but little does he suspect that the arrival of Hernán Cortés, Spanish conquistador, will change the course of his country's history forever.
Reviews: "Ross does for Cortés and the Aztecs what James Clavell did for Samurai in Shogun." Hot Type, CDC Newsworld
"A triumph ... a fabulous first novel." Ottawa Citizen
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A Fire on the Mountains: exploring the human spirit from Mexico to Madagascar

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Year: Vintage Canada, 1996
Synopsis: The result of ten years' hard, often dangerous travel through some of the most troubled spots in the world, these unforgettable true stories address questions which are seldom asked, let alone answered, in the media today. Oakland Ross takes us to seventeen countries — El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Angola, Zambia among them — and into the lives of ordinary men and women who live, and often thrive, in times of great duress.
Reviews: "This is the kind of writing that, without rhetoric or fanfare, alters our experience of the world." Books in Canada read more

Guerrilla Beach

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Year: Cormorant Books, 1994
Synopsis: In these ten haunting tales, Oakland Ross revisits and reimagines the human and political terrain he covered for many years as an award winning foreign correspondent for The Globe and Mail. All these stories are set in Latin America, beset by fierce social turmoil. Against settings that range from Chile during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet to El Salvador amid the ravages of civil war, Ross explores the wrenching dilemmas faced by Latin Americans as they struggle to lead normal lives in impossible circumstances or by North American expatriates as they confront their own demons far from home.
Reviews: "These stories [are] so unsettling, so commanding in tone ... It's as though García Márquez collaborated with Hemingway." Paragraph read more