About the Book
In the Land of the Feathered Serpent is an epic tale of a Hero's Journey, told in the Homeric tradition, and set in the context of America's meddling in Central America in the 1980s.
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For information on James Joyce, Ulysses, and Modernist Literature, click here.
In the Land of the Feathered Serpent is a story told by a young scientist just launching his professional career and feeling quite confident about the direction his life was going to take. Instead, however, the bright but naïve young biologist, with an outsized libido and a hypersensitive nose, unexpectedly finds himself on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery, transformation, and enlightenment. Dr. Odel Bernini’s journey becomes a Homeric adventure, set in the context of America's meddling in Central America in the 1980s. In the end, the young scientist discovers that life is far more complicated than he ever imagined. A youthful Odel tumbles easily under the spell of feminine seduction; but over the course of his journey he grows to differentiate those feelings from love and eventually to consolidate the two. With the help of an extraordinary woman first seen in his dreams, he is pulled from one life into another, discovering that a world of mysticism exists next to the silo of science in which he had been trapped. He explores the nature of love, trust, and friendship, as well as the dark heart and bright hope of humankind. The Epilogue shifts to third-person narrative and informs the reader of our hero’s post-journey whereabouts.
The story pays homage to Homer’s Odyssey (and James Joyce’s Ulysses), and many of the characters in the three novels are one-and-the-same. As in The Odyssey, Feathered Serpent begins in the middle of the tale and then flashes back to fill in significant prior events. Odel Bernini’s journey takes place both in the physical terrain and in the landscape of his mind as he travels through the lowland jungles of the Petén rainforest and the 10,000-foot high sierras of Guatemala’s Maya realm. Odel gets caught up with dirty politics and the CIA, is seduced by a dark siren, is nearly killed by a Cyclops, and is swept into the world of Maya mysticism. The facts, places, and most characters in the story are real; the political details and timing are accurate. Odel Bernini and his close friends are, however, purely fictional.
The Latinized name of Odysseus is Ulysses. To see the lyrics of Tales of Brave Ulysses, click here.
TEACHERS: This novel might not be suitable for students under 18, but it would be perfect for 18+ age students. If you are a K-12 Language Arts teacher, check out for great teaching resources (digital products for educators, many designed for at-risk students and all designed to help teachers).
COVER ART AND AND DESIGN by Alex Boersma. To see more of Ms. Boersma's outstanding nature art visit: www.alexboersma.com
Some location scenes from
In the Land of the Feathered Serpent
The Great Zócalo, Mexico City
Frida Kahlo home (Casa Azul), Coyoacán, Mexico City
Temple of the Feathered Serpent and The Citadel, Teotihuacan, Mexico
Hotel Majestic, Mexico City
Plaza Hidalgo, Coyoacán,
Inside Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, Coyoacán, Mexico City
Guatemalan Cloud Forest
Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, Mexico
Tikal, Guatemala (Maya)
The Temple of Hochoob,
Campeche, Mexico (Maya)
San Blas Islands, Caribbean coast of Panama
Trail in the Petén jungle, Guatemala
Pacific Coast of Nicaragua
Metropolitan Cathedral, Managua
Pacific Coast of Guatemala
Volcán Concepción, Nicaragua
Hotel Intercontinental, Managua
Flor de Caña rum
Maya woman with copál, Chichicastenango, Guatemala (1983)