The best fiction book to read about the Mayan culture from Belizean Author

Lamanai Belize

We are living with this Covid19 pandemic for a few months now, many of us have extra time on our hands. You might want to use this spare time for learning, or you might want an escape. Why not read the best fiction book about the Maya civilization?

Remember, as Dr. Seuss says, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Everyone loves a change of scenery or an inspiring trip, which changes your mentality for the better, traveling is a stress reducer.
Travel can take you out of your daily routine and into new surroundings and adventures, and this can reset your body and mind.

Right now, as it is hard and even impossible to travel, then why not travel through stories?

Let's travel into Belizean culture!

Why not start by reading an excellent Mayan historical fiction novel, written by a Belizean author!

It is time to start reading "The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell by Manuel Novelo."

"A young peasant boy whose name was Box Balam. He was born and raised in the magnificent Maya City of Lamanai in the west banks of a beautiful lagoon. By the age of fourteen, he had his mind well made up. He would become a member of the famous and widely loved Lamanai's Royal Pok-A-Tok team".

Now, do you know about Pok-A-Tok? It is a Mesoamerican ballgame, a sport with ritual associations.

Let me introduce you to the Author

Manuel Novelo, who is not only an excellent friend of mine but is a top tour guide in Belize. He was born, raised, and lives in Orange Walk Town, Belize. His area of expertise is in Ancient Maya Archeology Tours, Natural History, and Spelunking. He is a proud descendant of the Yucatec linguistic group of the Maya People.

The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell is his first published novel, and he is currently working in his second one.

Manuel Novelo - The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell
I asked him a few questions, to know him better as a Belizean writer.

VERO: Who is Box Balam?

MANUEL: In my historical fiction novel, The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell, the main character is Box Balam (pronounced Bosh Balam) his sole dream was to be a member of the Royal Team of the Pok-A-Tok ball game.


VERO: What kind of a game is Pok-A-Tok?

MANUEL: It is an ancient ceremonial game played by Maya athletes. It is widely believed that Basketball, American football, Soccer, and Rugby originated from this excellent ball game.


VERO: Does Box Balam succeed in becoming a player?

MANUEL: After the ceremony that initiated Box Balam and members of his clan as an adult, they were sent on separate missions by the Ruler of his beloved city Lamanai. This game took Box Balam on an incredible adventure that earned him his right to become a member of the Royal Pok-A-Tok team.


VERO: Is there a sacred shell in Lamanai?

MANUEL: The Great Carved Jade Shell inlaid with mother-of-pearl sitting on top of the highest temple in the Great city of Lamanai was raised for the first time in many years upon the arrival of the now Great Hero Box Balam at Lamanai.


VERO: When did you first realize you wanted to write a story?

MANUEL: I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was about 9 or 10 years old, after reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


VERO: How long did it take you to write your first book?

MANUEL: It took me about four months to write my first published book, The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell.


VERO: What was your work schedule like when you were writing?

MANUEL: I was at the time working in construction, so I could only write at night and weekends. Most of the time, around 3 to 4 in the morning before heading to work.


VERO: When did you write your first book, and how old were you?

MANUEL: I wrote my first book when I was 19 years old; however, it never got it published.


VERO: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

MANUEL: Read, Read, Read...... most extensive subjects.


VERO: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your first book?

MANUEL: The most surprising thing is that ideas and scenarios keep popping in my brain once I begin to relate a story.


VERO: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

MANUEL: When I launched my first book, l had people calling me from all over to tell me they loved my book and that they were proud of me. I was invited by most of the television and radio stations around Belize for interviews, including the leading newspapers.


VERO: What do you think makes a good story?

MANUEL: Everything in this life makes a good story. I believe everybody has a story to tell. You need to start.


VERO: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

MANUEL: I grew up surrounded by storybooks. I always wanted to be a writer.


VERO: Are you ready to write a second book?

MANUEL: I have begun the 4th book, another Historical Fiction, my first two books never been published.

I just hope you will enjoy it if you wish to read more about the Maya civilization, check the other books I selected for you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published