Questions for Discussion
By Francisco X. Stork

  1. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors takes place in the dry, mountainous landscape of Las Cruces and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Describe how the landscape interacts with and affects the story. Why is the desert landscape appropriate for this story?

  2. When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony’s, he has a strong suspicion that his sister was murdered. What evidence does Pancho have for this suspicion? Does he gather more evidence as the story unfolds?

  3. How would you describe Pancho’s relationship with his sister Rosa? When she’s alive? After she dies?

  4. What kind of relationship did Pancho have with his father? Can you point to places in the book where the memory of his father influences Pancho’s actions?

  5. Pancho’s primary motivation through the book is revenge for his sister’s death. How does his desire for revenge manifest itself?  Do you think Pancho’s anger increases or decreases as the story progresses? What happens to his desire for revenge as he becomes involved with D.Q., Marisol, Josie? Do you find that Pancho is a likable character, despite his anger? If so, what makes you sympathetic towards him?

  6. What role does boxing play in the book? Why is boxing so important to Pancho?

  7. If revenge is Pancho’s primary motivation, what would you say is D.Q.’s? What is his goal? What doe he want to accomplish in what he believes are the remaining days of his life? Does he succeed? If you had a form of terminal cancer like D.Q., would you react as D.Q. does?

  8. Describe the relationship between D.Q. and Pancho? What is Pancho’s initial reaction to D.Q.? Do you think their relationship changes over time? Compare how Pancho feels towards D.Q. at the beginning of the book and at the end?

  9. How would you describe D.Q.’s faith? Do you think he believes in God? In life after death? How would you compare D.Q.’s faith to Pancho’s?

  10. Compare D.Q.’s views toward his illness and its treatment to Helen’s (D.Q.’s mother). Would you say that Helen’s perspective is more optimistic than D.Q.s? If you were Helen, would you act the way she does in the book? Do you agree with Helen that healing requires hope? Do you think that D.Q. has hope? If so, what does he hope for?

  11. What role do you think that Johnny Corazon plays in the story? What is the significance of the ceremony between Pancho, D.Q. and Johnny Corazon out in the mountains? What kind of healing, if any, do you think takes place during that ceremony?

  12. Do you think that Pancho is in love with Marisol? If so, how does he deal with the fact that D.Q. is in love with her as well? What happens between Pancho and D.Q. when Marisol comes into the picture? Do you think that D.Q. is justified in feeling angry towards Pancho?

  13. Do you think that Pancho does the right thing in forgiving Robert Lewis’ life? Why does Pancho decide not to kill him? Why does he write in his sister’s diary at the end?

  14. Do you think the book has a hopeful ending? Do you think it is better for D.Q. to return to St. Anthony’s? What is the significance of Pancho and D.Q. sharing a room together?

  15. What is the significance of the Death Warrior Manifesto? Why is D.Q. writing it? What is a Death Warrior? Do you think that Pancho and D.Q. live up to the principles of a Death Warrior?