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Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal is the seventeenth entry in The Royal Diaries. It was written by Anna Kirwan; her second book for the series. The book was published in April 2004 by Scholastic. It was followed by Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven by Kathryn Lasky.


"As a grateful student, I dedicate this work to my Aunt Mary Lunsford Medford and to the memory of my Uncle James Willard Medford, who introduced me to the study of arrowheads; to my Uncle Buck, Louis Poole who first told me about the Gulf Coast shell mound builders, and my Aunt Lyall, who remembers all the words to "Pretty Redwing"; and to my parents, David and Catherine Kirwan, who believes in books and museums."

Book description[]

" 9 Chuen 14 Mol [July 7]
Lakamha, Bacal Highland

I thought, now that I leave Lakamha, I may never return. I may never see my family again. Well, perhaps I will see some of them. But I Will be like the water that comes down from a spring deep in the heart of a mountain cavern. It can flow and seep and pool and cascade all the way down to the water lily fields, all the way down to the big river, all the way to the marshes and the great salt sea....
But it can never flow back uphill to its home.
I will never forget Lakamha, even if Lakamha forgets me.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal characters


Main article: Anna Kirwan


"I am grateful to the archaeologists and other scholars from whose studies I learned most, who generously spoke with me and answered my questions. Dr. Michael Coe of Yale University, whose books I began reading after a seventh-grade visit to the Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, is a terrific storyteller and wise advisor. His insight into the "poetry" versus the "syntax" of cultural and historical research was liberating to me as an artist, and at the same time it steadied me as a researcher. John Henderson of Cornell, Michael Smith and Marilyn Masson of SUNY–Albany, Northampton novelist Zane Kotker and historian Harold Garrett-Goodyear of Mt. Holyoke College, Steven Houston, Brian Ampolsk, David Stuart, and Mary Ellen Miller were all patient and gracious. Betty Spears of Lennox, Massachusetts, was most helpful with regard to the native Mesoamerican ballgame. I could not have done without the books of Dennis Tedlock, Linda Schele, David Freidel, William Fash, Justin Kerr, John Montgomery, and Peter Harrison.
My "daykeeper," astrologer Mark Kosarick, helped me to derive historical horoscopes and omens for my characters, based on Fire Keeper's dated monuments.
I am grateful from now through at least the next baktun for the kind author maintenance I received while working on this book–from my editors, Sonia Black and Jean Feiwel, Beth Levine and Lisa Sandell, and my agent, Ginger Knowlton; from my family; from Ellie, Frank, Janet, Leslie, Caroline, Betsy, Constance, Ed, Ben, Rich, Jimmy Lee, Jeff, Matt, Nate, Zoe, Lamar, Ty, Jonah, Robin, David, Iris, Sarah, and John; from Babs, Patty, Corinne, Lesléa, Annie, and Jane; from the dear Friday writers, the cherished Thursday writers, the beloved Tuesday writers; from Elizabeth, Karen, Susan, Mary-Beth, and Bill; and from Philo, a six-K'atun scribe, who made it possible for me to see Xunantunich.


  • The portrait of Lady of Palenque was illustrated by American artist Tim O'Brien.


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