“Dos Santos by Fernando de Aragón
Dos Santos is the story of Antonio Dos Santos, a Spanish conqueror who sets to explore and colonize the Island of San Juan Bautista--called Borikén, by the native inhabitants, the Taínos--under don Juan Ponce de León.
Originally Dos Santos set to the New Indies--in search of gold and riches--with Cristóbal Colón in his second trip to America. He stayed in Santo Domingo where he contributed to the settlements of Santo Domingo and Yuma, but he never got rich. He learned that politics decided who would get money and he was determined that this time, under Ponce de León, he would seek land and settle down.
After helping to settle Villa Caparra, Dos Santos gets permission from Ponce de León to explore the inside of San Juan island. Dos Santos is aided by two Taínos--Taibaná and Moné--who take him to the yucayeque (Taíno village) of Ceiba. There he falls in love with Aimá, Taibaná's older sister and finds happiness for the first time in his life. Dos Santos knows how badly the Taínos fared in the colonization of Aytí, or Santo Domingo, and when trouble ensues with the Spanish, he chooses the Taíno side and fights for them.
This is a great story. The east meets the west: what a great opportunity to tell a story from two different points of view. Instead, Mr. de Aragón chose a universal narrator, thus missing on the excellent opportunity to contrast two very different cultures. I would have loved to read the book from the point of view of Antonio, Ponce de León on the Spanish side; and from Aimá, Taibaná from the Taíno side. What a great novel this would have been!
Instead, we're left with a great story narrated in a poor way. I enjoyed it but was dishearten by the author's technique.....”