Juan David Morgan

Balboa’s Head

Novel. Alfaguara, 2021

Liar, traitor, hypocrite, false, ambitious, thief, were some of the adjectives with which Pedro Arias Dávila referred to Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the “discoverer” of the South Sea, before the king. In these same terms, Balboa accused Pedrarias in a series of letters that, between 1513 and 1519, gave an account of the disputes that took place in the first years of the conquest and colonization of the mainland. The trial of Pedrarias against Balboa, which the chronicler of the Indies Pedro Mártir de Anglería will recount in detail to the Medici Pope Leo X, is a faithful reflection of these battles that took place in the governorship of Castilla del Oro.

Balboa’s Head is a nonfiction novel in which Juan David Morgan takes us from Renaissance Rome to Darién, an unknown jungle land that brings together interest and resources, ambition and power. An exciting story that takes place years before the arrival of Hernán Cortés in the Mexican coast and Pizarro in Peru.


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