Three Plumes of Judas

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About the author:
John Major Jenkins is the author of a dozen books on Maya mythology, cosmology, and culture, published with Tarcher/Penguin, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Borderland Sciences Research Foundation, and his own limited edition imprint, Four Ahau Press. His travels in Mesoamerica since the 1980s, living and working with the Maya, provided intimate insights that are woven into his novel. He is the voice talent in several audio programs that feature his work (Sounds True, 2007, 2008), and has appeared in numerous documentaries. He has contributed introductions and chapters to popular and academic books and anthologies, and his work has been endorsed and cited by many leading writers.
As an independent investigator, his work has been featured in dozens of documentaries including 2012: The Beginning, which was the best attended documentary film in the MipDoc section of Cannes in 2012. His work was also featured with a full-page author photo in the New York Times Sunday Magazine of July 1, 2007, and in the U.S. News and World Report. He has presented at academic and popular venues, was a featured speaker at press junkets for a Hollywood movie, co-founded the non-profit Maya Conservancy, and has lead tours to Maya sites and Peru. In the late 1990s he served as the literary executor for Finnish-American poet and translator, Eino Friberg, and edited books for the Finnish Ruusu-risti (Rosicrucians) that were published with Blue Dolphin.
His poetry and stories can be found in his books, and a work of historical fiction (featuring Boulder, Colorado in the 1930s) was completed in 2003. His best known books have been translated into a dozen languages: Tzolkin (BSRF, 1992/94), Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (Bear & Company, 1998), Galactic Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2002), Pyramid of Fire (Inner Traditions, 2004), and The 2012 Story (Tarcher/Penguin, 2009). Previous travelogue books with characters, stories, and dialogue were self-published in 1989 and 1991. A seven-volume series of historical fiction with poetry is being completed.

Three Plumes of Judas

Authored by John Major Jenkins
Edition: 1

Three Plumes of Judas is an on-the-go life-review of soul loss and possible recovery, of damnation and reprieve, adventuring through exotic landscapes in modern Central America. Our guide and anti-hero is Marko Ansari - a tricky savior, gentleman devil, and heretic trailblazer of Maya Studies. On the cusp of his impending death he navigates betrayals, divorce, allies and enemies, plumed serpents, tricksters, devious deities, poignant memories and new loves, and, most importantly, transcendent sex and how to avoid getting screwed over. Yeah, there's a lot going on. But that's how it always happens in Mayaland, if it happens at all.
There are "Stations" along the way, key events in the novel. This is an echo of a Christian dramaturgy with Jesus (the "Stations of the Cross" in Christian ritual), but we also see Maya, Gnostic, and Old Testament stories echoed in the book. The themes are the roots of betrayal, the circular Ouroboros symbol, getting "screwed over" and tricking tyrants, spiritual redemption, renewal, and reunion with lost parts of the soul. The characters represent different archetypes from the Maya Creation Mythology, and interface in changeable and evolving ways.
This novel is contemporary literary fiction with slightly surreal elements involving synchronicities, parallels of meanings, and a mystical vision. Told in the third person, the main theme is betrayal and redemption with the life of the protagonist, Marko Ansari, at stake. Set as a travel adventure through Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, characters from Maya myth appear through various people that are encountered at critical moments throughout the novel, especially a gay elder scholar named Jim Redmond and a young woman named June. We meet the protagonist during a life-crisis as a result of which he seeks chemical salvation (a wonder drug), a sort of insurance policy and talisman for security. He acquires it in the first chapter and thereafter goes on a quest to his old haunts in Central America. As his 'pilgrimage' takes him from west to east over a three-month period, he periodically has deeper and earlier life memories as he tries to find the root of his disease and the key to his healing. It's a life review on the brink of death, pieced out over several months. The tension of the chemical salvation in his breast pocket, and when he might drink it, is always present. At one point he loses it.
A backdrop theme involves Maya teachings about the 2012 cycle ending, which is the protagonist's field of study. We visit Maya temples and modern Maya villages, get a dramatic life reading from a Maya shaman, and certain philosophical teachings begin to emerge. Gray areas in the relationships between men and women, of varying ages and sexual orientation, are illustrated and contrasted, and an odd theme reappears in the most unexpected places: how people betray themselves and others. How the world screws itself and finds its redemption. How healing might be possible if ... only if ... all is thrown into the cauldron of transformation. But someone blocks the way. How to deal with the tyrants of limitation and deceit? Perhaps the tricksters of Maya mythology can help.
Various vignettes include Marko's relationship with three women of different ages and stations in life- Evie, Brenda, and June - at the beginning, middle, and end of the book. Experiences with the Maya reveal certain relevant teachings. Humorous events unfold and anecdotes having several levels of meaning are embedded throughout. A conflict between Marko and Jim Redmond (who is not who he presents himself as being) is resolved in the final scene, and a strange twist at the very end allows several tantalizing enigmas to fall into place.
The book is conceived as an entertaining read with interesting characters and thought-provoking interpersonal dynamics (some perhaps shocking and controversial) set in the exotic landscape of the Maya world of contemporary Guatemala and Honduras.

Publication Date:
0998586803 / 9780998586809
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Fiction / Literary

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