In 1993, as revolutionary forces gather in the area, an idealistic young American priest vanishes in the jungles of southern Mexico. The church, immersed in trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict between wealthy landowners and poverty-stricken indigenas, remains strangely silent in the face of his disappearance. When his sister, Eva–only thirty-four but already a hardened battlefield photojournalist–finds out what’s going on, she flies to Central America to find him. For a cover story, she applies for a job assisting a taciturn Dutch Mayanist, who, it turns out, is on a secret mission of his own.
From the great pyramids of Tikal to the graceful palaces of Palenque to the shadowy guerrilla camps of the vast Lacandon, A Land Without Sin is a modern day journey into the heart of darkness. A cinematic mystery grappling with the complexity of family history and relationships, it celebrates the possibility of love in the midst of evil.
“Brisk in its action and richly detailed in its historical, geographical, political and theological explorations, A Land Without Sin succeeds in considering the thorniest problems religious believers face–atrocity, despair, the nature of evil–without moralizing or oversimplifying. It’s deeply engaging and impressive in its range.”
(Valerie Sayers, Commonweal)
“With some of the sheer excitement of H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines and the depth of soulful inquiry of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, Paula Huston’s A Land Without Sin is a savvy look at the violent struggles in southern Mexico over the last quarter century, and a vivid perspective on the hopes and perils of liberation theology. It is a poignant and splendid book.”
(Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy and Atticus)
“In a journey reminiscent of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Huston’s characters travel a variety of different roads, away from all that is known and toward something that brings each far more than any of them bargained for.”
(Booklist, August 19, 2013)
“This world–that of the Lacandon jungle of Central America and the Maya pyramids Jan and Eva attempt to decipher–is both gorgeous and terrible, illustrated beautifully by Huston’s elegant prose.”
(ForeWord, Fall 2013)