Álvaro Enrigue

You Dreamed of Empires

You Dreamed of Empires


A hallucinatory, revelatory, colonial revenge story in sixteenth-century Mexico, from the visionary author of Sudden Death


One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés rode into the floating city of Tenoxtitlan – today’s Mexico City – accompanied by his eight captains, his troops, and his two translators.

Invited to a ceremonial meal with the steely princess Atotoxtli, sister and wife of the emperor Moctezuma, the Spanish nearly bungle their entrance into the city and its labyrinthine palace. Soon, one of Cortés’s captains, Jazmín Caldera, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed, and wonders at the risks of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire.

Moctezuma himself is at a political, spiritual and physical crossroads, relying on hallucinogens in a quest for any kind of answer from the gods. When Cortés and Moctezuma meet later that day, two worlds, empires, languages and possible futures collide.

A hallucinatory, revelatory, colonial revenge story, You Dreamed of Empires brings to life Tenoxtitlan at its height – and reimagines its destiny. It sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream.

Translated by Natasha Wimmer

Praise for Sudden Death

‘Glorious’ New York Times

‘Dazzlingly clever and thrillingly original’ Mail on Sunday

‘So much fun to read’ Guardian

‘Engaging, audacious and flat-out fun’ Vice

‘The best kind of puzzle… esoteric and wildly funny’ Lauren Groff

‘Ingenious’ Irish Times

‘Endlessly inventive’ Financial Times

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