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I think I read the first book in this series in the late 90s. I never read any more, because it was too dark for me, so I don't know how many books were in the series, or if it was ever finished.

The main protagonist is a Mesoamerican warrior who is captured by the Aztecs. He manages to kill several Aztec warriors in ritual combat, despite only being allowed to use flimsy weapons, because he's so awesome. He then demands the honor of being sacrificed. At the point of death, he is summoned to a fantasy realm by a priestess or female magic user, who binds him to the realm with sexual acts which (if I remember correctly) cost her her life by transferring her life force to him.

He has been summoned to this realm to defeat an army of evil. He meets a pair of Viking warriors who discuss this "afterlife" with him and admit that it's not quite the Valhalla they were expecting. He is somehow able to watch as European forces with cavalry and firearms destroy both his people and the Aztecs, and uses their tactics against the invading force. Or he's going to. I don't remember if there was a climactic battle in the book.

I also remember a Templar character who captured and raped a woman. There was a race of blind underground creatures. I don't remember what they were called, but I pictured them as the troglodytes from heroes of Might and Magic. I believe the troglodytes were central to the attack on the protagonist and the summoners. I don't think they were the only attackers, but I seem to recall they were the main force. Anyway, the inquisitor and the woman are captured by the troglodytes and she tricks them into torturing him to death. As I said, it was too dark for me. However, it was different/interesting enough that I'd like to find a plot synopsis for the remaining books, if they exist.

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  • I can't find the book in my collection, and Googling returns a confusing mass of Aztec related fantasies. Are there any specifics you can remember e.g. that name of a character or place? Anything that might help jog a memory. Dec 28, 2022 at 17:08
  • Sorry, I'm bad with names at the best of times, and this was a long time ago. I only remember little snippets of text, and probably not accurately. Google was no help to me either, that's what I'm here. :-)
    – Mr. Kevin
    Dec 29, 2022 at 4:04
  • Were the primary characters named Rafti and Moth?
    – Cassfrank
    Jan 31, 2023 at 21:55
  • Sorry, those don't ring a bell. What book are those characters from?
    – Mr. Kevin
    Feb 3, 2023 at 1:29

1 Answer 1

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It's called Circle at Center by Douglas Niles.

In the kingdom of the Seven Circles, the harmony of the realm and the peaceful lives of its inhabitants are undermined as disaffected members of all the various races that live there--eleves, centaurs, goblins, trolls, druits, and other fantastic beings--gather together into a force that could destroy the Seven Circles

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I remember reading this in around 2003 and was starting to think I had imagined it.


From the question:

At the point of death, he is summoned to a fantasy realm by a priestess or female magic user, who binds him to the realm with sexual acts which (if I remember correctly) cost her her life by transferring her life force to him.

Matching part from a Goodreads review (TW: death/sexual assault):

Besides the "sex magic" used to bring warriors into the world of the circle at center (not to mention the fact that it ultimately proves fatal to the woman who initiated the ritual), there's a very gratuitous and alarming rape scene that left a really foul taste in my mouth.

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    Can you explain how the plot matches the description in the question?
    – Valorum
    Sep 17, 2023 at 16:57
  • Thank you! I wasn't 100% sure based on goodreads, but the first review here thriftbooks.com/w/… matches some of my memories a little better.
    – Mr. Kevin
    Sep 20, 2023 at 1:38

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