Trip of a Lifetime by Elizabeth Johnston

A young Mayan woman called Mai, living in Palenque in 812AD is trying to find out the truth about her mother’s execution for the alleged murder of her mother’s friend’s son.

Following rumours in Palenque, Mai finds out that both her mother and her friend also had an affair with the attorney of Palenque who ordered her mother’s execution. Her neighbour, Hanab, who also holds the answers to what happened with her mother has put himself forward as a sacrifice in Tikal. Mai’s mother’s friend has since moved to Flores, so she lies to the attorney and asks for help explaining that she would like to travel to Flores to make peace with her. The attorney puts on a facade of believing her and provides her with an escort and tries to arrange their demise on the way. Not surprisingly, she comes across several obstacles before and during their journey.
Mai also hasn’t yet told her escort that she would like to travel further than Flores.

Whilst this story is being told, so in another one, set in the same place but in 2006 AD. A small coach party is touring from Mexico City to Tikal and travelling the same places in order that Mai is travelling.

Unbeknown to the other travellers on the coach, one of the party is a god who’s taken human form and made himself look a convincing travelling companion. He is known to others on the coach as Ramiro. His motive is to stop Mai intervening in the sacrifice of Hanab. He is on the coach because if he doesn’t succeed, he will have to substitute one of the coach party for Hanab.

Slowly, it becomes clear to some of the other tourists that Ramiro is not all that he seems.–Description from


Trip of a lifetime is a clever book spanning two different time periods. Initially, I was surprised on reading this book that the author managed to stay true to form in her characters, using names that were period appropriate and descriptions fitting to the age she described. I find that many books that are set in days long passed tend to forget to use the proper language and MS. Johnston accomplished this beautifully.

I liked that she wove two stories together throughout the book, one from years before and one set in the year 2006. She crafted a story that was compelling and interesting and I commend her for setting the book in a location I have not seen used a million times previously. This work is very original and captivating.

The author managed to blend the past and present together without making it confusing or irritating. I like that she took a concept that has been seen before and gave it a new twist that made it her own.

I would have liked to have seen her flesh the story out a bit more with more vivid descriptions and  a little history on the characters to fill in the gaps a little bit more and make a more dimensional story, but overall I thought it was a great effort and deserves to be read. For anyone who is interested in Gods and historical civilizations this book is for you. Give this one a try, it would make a great fireside read!




Published by: Ionia Froment

Blogger, reviewer, theology/philosophy major. I'm a mother and a writer and a supporter of free speech and freedom in general. My favourite author is Albert Camus, and I listen to a bit of everything. I've been too busy (LAZY) to blog in the last few years, but I'm giving it another shot.

Categories Uncategorized