The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

NAMED A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017#1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller! A Best Book of 2017 from the Boston GlobeOne of the 12 Best Books of the Year from National GeographicIncluded in Lithub’s Ultimate Best Books of 2017 ListA Favorite Science Book of 2017 from Science News A

NAMED A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017#1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller!
A Best Book of 2017 from the Boston Globe
One of the 12 Best Books of the Year from National Geographic
Included in Lithub’s Ultimate Best Books of 2017 List
A Favorite Science Book of 2017 from Science News

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.
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} An Amazon Best Book of January 2017: In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. To this point the city – also known as “the Lost City of the Monkey God” – was literally a legend; while various hucksters and hoaxers had claimed to have discovered the abandoned metropolis, no credible evidence had ever been presented, and its very existence remained shrouded in doubt. In addition to the objective hazards of tropical disease, wild boars, and the deadly fer-de-lance viper, locals stoked the mystique, describing various curses awaiting would-be discoverers. Don’t pick the flowers, or you’ll die.

But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya.

The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home.

The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. –Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

Comments

Scott E. High says:

And The Reviews Keep Pouring In…… This is NOT a book authored by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child that continues the adventures of Special Agent A. Pendergast and his unique circle of friends and assorted characters. However this is an intriguing and very interesting documentary written by Douglas Preston that takes you inside the planning and execution of a continual search for a mythical lost city (and/or civilization) that until 2015 remained nothing more than rumor and myth(s). It is NOT an “Indiana Jones” novel and is all the more compelling for avoiding that type of embellishment and drama. You won’t find a photograph of Harrison Ford inside the dust jacket but you will see a grinning shot of Douglas Preston bearing an uncanny resemblance to the (deceased) actor Edward Herrmann. 

John D. Sens says:

Explorer tale with some politics Good explorer story of locating abandoned cities under harsh conditions using advanced electronic equipment followed by hard work on the ground. Reporting on disease afflicting many participants. Also tells of criticism of search by the usual academic purest types extending to issue of politically correct language.

Carole Irons says:

It is in no way dry or boring. At the same time it covers the expedition This was a well written book regarding exploration of some of the earth’s still unexplored places. It is in no way dry or boring. At the same time it covers the expedition, health issues and historical issues. A very good book

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