An archaeological dig near Sunnydale provides this novel with a different locale from most Buffy adventures, and brings the Slayer up against a very unusual adversary. Archaeologists have uncovered the legendary smoking mirror of Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec god of darkness, which was stolen by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Freed from the mirror, Tezcatlipoca prowls Sunnydale in the form of a huge jaguar whilst Lucy Frank, a graduate student at the site, prepares the human sacrifices that will restore his power.
If he receives enough still-beating hearts he will be able to stop the sun from ever rising again, a prospect eagerly anticipated by the local vampires. The collision of ancient beliefs and modern science is amusingly dealt with as the increasingly late sunrises are blamed on a computer miscalculation at the weather centre.
Even in the midst of battle against a bloodthirsty god, the fashion-obsessed Cordelia is more interested in obtaining a pith helmet for the dig, and this bantering humour is a strong point of this novel, as it is of the TV series. The book never loses sight of modern teenage concerns even during the culminating battle when the Slayerettes must fight to avoid becoming the centrepiece of the ritual slaughter. --Liz Sourbut