My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.
As a longtime fan of the Pendergast series that Douglas Preston writes together with Lincoln Child was I curious to read this non-fiction book about a lost city. Personally, I find mysteries likes this very intriguing. I mean a lost city that is mentioned in old documents, but no one has found? What's not to like? And, what makes this book so fantastic is that Douglas Preston himself was part of the expedition to what could be White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. A place where no one has been for centuries, a place with a lot of deadly creatures like the deadly fer-de-lance, one of the most deadly snakes on the planet.
The Lost City of the Monkey God captivated me from the beginning, Preston has written a well-researched book, which gives the reader both the historical background as well as the impressions from the expedition. I always love books that are entertaining and learning as well, and Preston has managed that. The only thing I found a bit dreary was the technical descriptions of the equipment that they used to pinpoint the city, but I got the gist and that was enough for me. I'm just not that interested in technical things so stuff like that always makes me a bit bored. But, I fully understand the need for it to be included in the story. Especially since it pissed of archaeologists who thinks that it's cheating to use lidar to find lost cities. I loved that part of the story, how petty some archaeologists were.
As much as I enjoyed reading the historical background must I admit that reading about the expedition, how they were the first ones there were very thrilling. I could easily picture the scenery and I found the discovery of the city and artifacts fascinating. Although I'm not sure I would want to travel there with all the bugs and deadly snakes.
The Lost City of the Monkey God was a truly great book. I loved learning more about the history of Honduras and it made me sad to think how the Europeans arrival pretty much killed off most of the natives all over America thanks to the sickness they brought with them.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DOUGLAS PRESTON worked as a writer and editor for the American Museum of Natural History and taught writing at Princeton University. He has written for The New Yorker, Natural History, National Geographic, Harper's, Smithsonian, and The Atlantic. The author of several acclaimed nonfiction books--including the bestseller The Monster of Florence--Preston is also the co-author with Lincoln Child of the bestselling series of novels featuring FBI agent Pendergast.
"A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary-trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner.” —Kirkus, starred review
"Replete with informative archaeology lessons and colorful anecdotes about the challenges Elkins' crew faced during the expedition, including torrential rains and encounters with deadly snakes, Preston's uncommon travelogue is as captivating as any of his more fanciful fictional thrillers.” —Booklist
"For anyone who dreams of lost times and places--and who doesn't?--this is the book. Revelatory, chilling, creepy, and alive with deadly snakes and insects bearing incurable disease, it's high adventure at its best, and all true.” — Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City
"What reader could resist a new book by Douglas Preston called THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD? Not this reader. Preston's book offers rewards for both the mystery fan and the nonfiction aficionado. THE LOST CITY is addictive-fast-paced and riveting, but it's also important. We mustn't repeat the cataclysmic mistakes of the past. Ironically-as THE LOST CITY illustrates-that's exactly what our short-sighted civilization is doing right now.” —James Patterson
"If you're going to explore a lost city-in this case one that vultures, poisonous snakes, sand flies, and mudholes have protected for 500 years-you really only want to do it with Douglas Preston. A tale of bravado, chicanery, and impossible dreams, arresting at every turn, no less so in its unexpected, pulse-racing coda.” —David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z
"Douglas Preston is one of the most adventurous figures in American letters today. Inured to personal danger, braving venomous snakes and lethal pathogens, he somehow gets it all--the science, the history, the intrigues, the obsessive characters, the electric moment of discovery, and the haunted cries of a once-powerful civilization. Preston's marvelous story is made all the more potent by the astonishing fact that, from beginning to end, it happens to be true.” —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of In the Kingdom of Ice
"A great true adventure, filled with danger, close calls, better-than-Hollywood characters, and a lost world that reaches through time and into everyone's future. One of the best nonfiction books I've read.” — Robert Kurson, New York Timesbestselling author of Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters
"The Lost City of the Monkey God is a throwback to the golden age of adventure archaeology, the thrilling true story of a group of explorers penetrating one of the toughest jungles on earth in search of a lost city...and finding it. Preston is a terrific writer of both non-fiction books and bestselling novels, and makes you feel the dark heart of this lost Honduran wilderness.” —John Sandford, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Prey series of novels