The Labyrinth of Love is a love story set amid the social and political upheavals of contemporary Mexico. The legend of the plumed serpent runs through the book, illuminating the theme of love and sacrifice and guiding the protagonist, Thomas Ryan, an aging American photographer, in his quest for love and artistic success.
The hero's struggle takes place in the context of his relationship with Maria Lopez, a beautiful young Mexican woman. A central theme of the novel turns on the intrusiveness of the photographer in pursuit of his art. In two critical scenes, Ryan is forced to realize that he has exploited both his Mexican lover and a community of Mayan Indians for the sake of his career in the United States. The choice he ultimately makes transcends his ambition for fame and brings him to a surprisingly altered relationship with Maria.