The Aztec Code by Stephen Cole

(wikipedia website lists bibliography & link to author page, but this book is not listed on author page, so I don’t know whether to recommend it)                                                     No video trailer found.

Summary: Group of early twenty-somethings (maybe late teens?) with theft specialties and a touch of paranormal (lockpicking, codebreaking, truthtelling and mesmerism) recruited from bad lives to work together to steal for a rich mastermind. Aztec treasure wrapped up with vengeful goddess worshippers along with a small nuclear bomb and biowarfare. It’s got plenty of action!

Personal Reaction: Decent demonic adventure, though I liked Horowitz’s The Gatekeepers series more. Too much adult content to be recommended to middle grades (sexual innuendo, one vague encounter, alcohol, a little cursing but the repeated word was pu**y). This is a supplemental/personal choice read for the guys who get interested in the unit on ancient cultures.

Connections to other books: Middleworld by Voelkel is more suitable (though Mayan) adventure for middle school though just as bloody; The Thief Lord  by Funke (gang of thieves for middle graders); Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Walden for middle grades, Evil Genius by Jinks for upper middle, NERDS by Buckley for the youngest readers or (criminal masterminds fun – but this is a stretch to make connections for these books); You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Aztec Sacrifice! by McDonald; nonfiction on Hernando Cortes or the Aztec culture

Items to display with book: Aztec realia (stone pyramid model, picture of Coatlicue, skulls, stone altar);  fake treasure (bracelets, jade items, pottery); spy gadgets (lockpicks, handheld devices, glass eye, book on codes & ciphers); yellow “radioactive” warning signage, toy helicopter

Food items connected to story: pizza, McD’s Filet-o-Fish

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