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Book Club Questions


1.     One aim of the series is to highlight the life and achievements of noteworthy women from world history.

In general, do you think women are fairly and equally represented in history?

Before reading Mayan Mendacity, were you aware the Maya had some female Rulers? Had you heard of Lady Six Sky?


2.     In the novel a character experiences betrayal and the loss of an important relationship.

Do you think the character handled the betrayal appropriately? What would your expectations be of yourself in the same situation?


3.     Most foodstuffs mentioned in the story of Lady Six Sky are native to Mexico. A thousand years ago, unless you lived in what is now Mexico, chances are you wouldn’t have tasted cacao (the basis of chocolate), vanilla, tomatoes, chillies or capsicum. If you lived outside the Americas you wouldn’t have seen potatoes, tobacco, corn, beans, pumpkins, zucchini, avocados, peanuts, pineapples, blueberries, sunflowers or marigolds.

Can you imagine life without potatoes, chocolate or vanilla? No tomatoes, sunflowers or avocadoes?

If you were only allowed to eat food native to your current area, i.e. only food that grows naturally up to one day’s walk from your house and was not introduced by human activity, what would you eat every day?


4.     One aspect of Maya society highlighted in the novel is the high level of violence against captives and slaves, including the ritual torture and sacrifice of children.

Can you imagine growing up in a society where this was commonplace? Would you become desensitised to it?

Do you think there are aspects of your own society that people on the outside might view as horrific? Things that you have become desensitised to?


5.     There were two main challenges in Mayan Mendacity. One was working out the identity of the skull with jade-inlaid teeth that was recovered from the well at Nojpetén. The second one was working out the truth about Mai’s background.

At what point in the story did you figure out the solutions to each of these mysteries? What clues gave them away?


6.     The cast of Mayan Mendacity includes a number of scientists such as Elizabeth, Alice, Tanya and Dr Marsh. In some parts of the world women are still discouraged or prohibited from becoming scientists.

What messages does your society send about women who are or want to be scientists? Do you think there are any gender barriers to careers in science in your society?


7.     Before reading Mayan Mendacity how straightforward did you think human genetics were? Have you changed your mind?



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