Truth Underlies the Curse of Cortes by Guy Morris

by | Aug 24, 2022 | Author | 0 comments

Sometimes, the most unforgettable stories are the ones we discover and not the ones we create. Such was the case with The Curse of Cortes. What started as a typical pirate adventure story for my pre-teen son gradually developed into an incredible, pulse-pounding epic. It took years of research into various layers of history, mythology, archaeology, culture and folklore to uncover the complete narrative. Today, I am excited to share my experience with the Author’s Lounge.

The journey began as an unsolved historical mystery about the lost treasure of Panama and ended as a modern-day adventure-thriller that BookTrib called ‘Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code’. Our modern-day heroine, Sophia Martinez, sets out to dispel the legacy of a three-hundred-year family curse that left a wake of violent deaths, disappearances and dementia. Ancient relics found beneath her family home, including the bloody log book of an Inquisition executioner named Cortes, sends Sophia on a deadly ordeal. With a Mayan prophecy psychopath in pursuit, Sophia will need the help of lost relatives to decode the cursed riddle that sends them on a path to a lost sacred pilgrimage. Time is running out to solve the macabre enigma and escape a gruesome necropolis or they too will vanish without a trace, and an apocalypse will broadcast live on television.

The history that hooked me into years of research began in 1672, when Henry Morgan took 36 ships and 2,000 men to sack Panama City. Morgan plundered thirty tons of treasure, worth over one billion dollars along with 600 slaves. When he arrived back at the fleet, Morgan cheated his men, disappearing on three ships with nearly the entire treasure, and 300 slaves, never to be seen again. Morgan alone survived as a haunted man who hid away in drunken debauchery. He refused to retrieve his blood-soaked booty and burned his log books to keep the world from learning the terrifying truth. After his death, the entire city of Port Royal sank into the ocean, including his grave, supposedly cursed by Morgan.

I could not get this mystery out of my head. First, it’s is very difficult to lose thirty tons of plunder, three ships and 500 souls. Second, whatever happened must have terrified Morgan so deeply that he abandoned his treasure and burned his log books. I became obsessed with solving the mysteries of what happened and why. I traveled the region, explored islands, dived offshore wreck sites, investigated undersea maps, and read multiple books of the era, including Morgan’s biography, to find the secrets overlooked by others. What I learned took me in a direction I never expected.

The mystery of what happened to the Panama treasure connects a 1911 excavation by British treasure hunter F.A. Mitchell Hedges, who recovered six million in gold (worth $240 million today), but refused to discuss the discovery in his memoir. After the incident, like Morgan, Hedges also became a troubled recluse. To fully understand the mystery, I would need to travel back in time to an island conquered by Morgan’s uncle Edward forty years before Panama, and then back another hundred years to an Inquisition massacre on that same island that ended a two-thousand-year pilgrimage. Attempts to explain a 50-mile ocean pilgrimage connected me to the Mayan calendar and the origins of the Mayan creation myth. Historical and creative are so tightly intertwined that I created a webpage to be transparent regarding fact versus fiction. https://www.guymorrisbooks.com/research-notes

More than an action-thriller, and far more than exciting history, the Curse of Cortes is a commentary on the delusion of superstition, the power of faith and the hideous evil done in the name of false religion. While the reader will learn about Morgan’s treasure, a lost civilization, and the influence of the modern narco culture, the Curse of Cortes explores the human side of dementia, family trauma, friendship, forgiveness, and facing our worst fears.

Curse of Cortes draws from the rich cauldron of Mesoamerica lore and the end of the world prophecies of Mayan prophet Chilam Balam to weave an authentic and intricate yarn that blends myth and actual historical events into a riveting reader experience. Each character in this sizable cast reaches through the pages to connect with the reader. In fact, several characters are based on real-life individuals I encountered during my research, including a Zetas cartel thug who threatened to kill me.

In writing the Curse of Cortes, I wanted readers to understand that all mythology ties back to real events, that families can heal from even the most horrifying legacies and that no evil on earth can stand up to a selfless love. I wanted my readers to be entertained, to think of the provocative possibilities, to laugh, to cry and then grip the edge of their seat, before they ended with a heart warming, uplifting conclusion. On some level, I wanted my readers to believe so deeply in the story’s truth that they would travel to an island in the western Caribbean for a treasure hunt. Based on reviews, I think I succeeded. https://www.guymorrisbooks.com/reviews-cortes

Someday, I hope to see the Curse of Cortes produced as a summer blockbuster movie. But you don’t need to wait. You can enjoy the epic today at: https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Cortes-abandoned-forgotten-pilgrimage/dp/1735728632/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=curse+of+cortes&qid=1629672220&sr=8-3  For the future, I am researching a sequel that will send our Cortes cast in search of the lost golden disk of the Inca. In my next book, The Last Ark (due fall of 2022), we will explore the true Ark of the Covenant, which sold on the black market in 2021 and the correct location of Solomon’s temple within an international political thriller. In the end, I believe we will always find the best fiction rooted firmly in reality.

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