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In September 1532, eleven years after the Spanish conquest, Mexico is in meltdown. As the conquistadors discover an earthly paradise, its peoples and their Gods are destroyed. This is a time of greed, uncertainty - and idealism. Despairing at his surroundings, Vasco de Quiroga - a new member of the Spanish ruling council - forges a commune on Mexico City's outskirts. Indigenous peoples flock there, and soon a new society exists, complete with a welfare system and a hospital. What distinguishes Quiroga's project is that he uses Thomas More's recently published book, Utopia, as his blueprint. As Toby Green researches Quiroga's biography in Spain and Mexico, he begins to sense an eerie resonance between Quiroga's age and our own. Based on archival research, and rich with vivid reconstructions of 16th-century Spain and Mexico, the narrative becomes a biography not only of Quiroga, but also of utopia as both an idea and a literary form.