One man is also determined on turning a new page on Mayan culture. Manuel Novelo is a new author who has written a novel; The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell. The book is a fictional account of the once powerful Mayan city of Lamanai in Orange Walk. The story encompasses the adventure, war, courage, tragedy, love and rise to greatness on the ancient civilization though the eyes of a peasant boy of the tribal community. The book has been published in the U.S and today the Novelo, a tour guide by profession, came to News Five in excitement to share what he feels is one of his biggest accomplishments. He told us what inspired him to trade in his trekking boots and pick up the pen and write.


Manuel Novelo, Author

Manuel Novelo

“I have always had a passion for ancient Mayan archaeology. I am of Mayan descent. I come from the Yucatec linguistic group of Mayas. My father, my uncles spoke Maya; unfortunately we lost some of the tradition. I am limited to only some words to Maya, unfortunately. I know that happens in all cultures around the world. So I have always had this passion in reading about Maya archaeology. I am a tour guide by profession and I always take my guests to these ancient Mayan cities. And the fact that I have never read a novel that is based about the ancient Mayan civilization in that era. I have seen textbooks, history books about the Mayans, but I have never read a novel or a novel that a Belizean has written. My book is about the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai. If you have visited Lamanai at this, it is all ruins right. But if you go back 650 A.D., where my book is based on, we’re talking about a magnificent city—beautifully plastered, temples, palaces; painted with beautiful colors. And I also talk about thriving markets, trade routes, ball courts, etc. The book bases especially about a young boy—a young peasant boy by the name of box [pronounced boche] balam]. Box is black; balam is jaguar.”


The book can be bought online at Amazon dot com and I-Universe dot com. Novelo says that in the next month, the books will be available in bookstores in Belize. And to make the book cheaper for Belizeans, he is hoping that he can collaborate with a local publishing house.

Channel 5