Alfieri sets her tale of murder and metal in Potosí, little known today (though a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but in the seventeenth century an immensely wealthy city whose silver mines were the economic engine that drove the vast Spanish empire.
I asked readers for examples of other cities whose positions in the world had fallen and promised a copy of Alfieri's novel for the best nomination.
Suggestions flooded in, and I wound up with eyes opened toward parts of the world I had not considered much before, as well as a list of new travel destinations.
In the end, I chose José Ignacio Escribano for his twin suggestions of Manaus, in north Brazil, and Córdoba, Spain, once the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, of which it has been said that
"in the latter half of the tenth century Córdoba, with up to 500,000 inhabitants, was then the most populated city in Europe and, perhaps, in the world."and
Jerry House for Lowell, Massachusetts, once the largest industrial complex in the United States. Honorable mention to Barbara Fister for suggesting Timbuktu, once a religious, intellectual and economic center, and today a byword for way-to-hell-and gone. Honorable mention to the lot of you, really, for the exciting reminders that history is all over the map: North and West Africa, South America, Central Asia, the United States ...
Congratulations to José and Jerry. If they'll send postal addresses to me at detectivesbeyondborders (at) earthlink (dot) net, I'll put their books in the mail. Thanks again to all who contributed to this most enjoyable thread.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010