A Novel of Guatemalan Life Against Nazi Influence
Shaken Earth is set in the United States and Central America during the turbulent early 1930s—where the ideology of race and the acquisition of power set the stage for an epic tale where seemingly small decisions lead to explosive consequences.
Mariano and Soledad, a socially prominent couple in Guatemala, try to flee their past just as seismic changes in the world are underfoot. With Adolf Hitler rising to power in Germany, Nazi influence extends as far as the coffee plantations and board rooms of Central America and to the lives of Mariano and Soledad. The couple discover unexpected resources and allies after a shattering volcano eruption. Their lives intertwine with those of an errant priest and a down-on-her-luck writer, all caught in a whirlpool of international intrigue, revolution, and genocide.
“Shaken Earth” is the first novel by Martin Barillas and is inspired by his love for his family’s native Guatemala. Set in the turbulent early 1930s, this small country is the scene for an epic tale where seemingly small decisions lead to explosive consequences that will affect everyone’s lives forever. The book opens with the story of a young married couple who seek to remain in the country they love, Guatemala, but are forced to choose exile and flight instead of the leisure of a stable home. They cannot escape the seismic changes underfoot in the world, which witnesses the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, whose fingers reach as far as the coffee plantations of Central America.When an earthquake and volcanic eruptions set Mariano and Soledad back on their heels, they are crushed by family betrayal. They come to rely on unexpected resources and allies, such as an errant priest and a down-on-her-luck writer, as they attempt to rebuild their lives while immersed in a whirlpool of international intrigue, revolution, and genocide.
About the author:
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, serving in Europe and Latin America, as well as with the division for Politico–Military affairs. At the latter, he was granted the Meritorious Honor Award for valuable services rendered in the Office of International Security Operations. He was co-author of Hidden Killers, a report to Congress concerning the threat of landmines and ordnance to civilians.
Following foreign service, Barillas designed and implemented pro-democracy programs funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the US State Department. He traveled widely in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to advance governmental and electoral transparency. He has written and edited articles for several media outlets. Shaken Earth is his breakout first novel.