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Douglas Preston's tale of the discovery of the remains of a lost civilization in the Mosquitia region of Honduras, and his first person account of his experiences accompanying the investigative team, make for riveting listening. The region is dangerous and notoriously difficult to access and the team encounter real dangers in their quest, just as they make real discoveries. There's mystery, adventure, colorful characters and the book even takes a rather unexpected turn (which I don't wish to spoil). Having read (and listened to) Christopher S. Stewart's book, Jungleland a few years ago, which is also about the search for La Ciudad Blanca (ie: the Lost City of the Monkey God) in Honduras, some of the historical background covered in this book was familiar to me but no less interesting. In fact, in some ways, The Lost City of the Monkey God felt like it picked up where Stewart's book left off.
Bill Mumy does a great job on the narration. Highly recommended.
42 of 44 people found this review helpful
A romantic notion...these lost cities, discoveries of ancient civilizations, and all the possibilities that hang on each little artifact that trickles out of obscurity...but Preston's tag-along accounting winds up a little anticlimactic. That's not to say that there isn't a lot of information here, but it winds around any actual discovery or headway to finding the White City aka the Lost City of the Monkey God, about as circuitous as the featured pictured of the Patuca River (see PDF, page 4--I'm talking lots of zigging and zagging, serpentine).
Preston takes 10 1/2 hours to give us all kinds of entomology and herpetology tidbits, historical offshoots of ancient civilizations, and details of setting up camp in the Honduran jungles, but nothing close to the kind of discovery deserving of popping open the champagne (maybe a beer). The technology of the *lidar* is interesting, and the photos (again, PDF) are a compelling argument for the existence of some kind of civilization that once existed in the T1 Valley. Ultimately, this is less an expedition than an accounting of all the hoops that must be jumped through, the governmental (and Native people's rights), the red tape, and snafus that accompany this kind of an undertaking; it's a tiny look at the dedication of patient explorers and dreamers.
I've read quite a few books of this kind, as probably anyone checking this out has also, and I was hoping for more. This is a middle dweller -- not as interesting as Lost City of Z, or River of Doubt, better than Jungleland (a book about a similar trip to find the Lost City of the Monkey God, written by Christopher Stewart). This one doesn't deliver on the promised *hair-raising adventure* as claimed in the summary, and though you may by the ending find yourself frustrated, I doubt you'll find this anywhere near *suspenseful* or especially *shocking*. For every foot of expedition, there are miles of paraphernalia. Whole chapters are devoted to a parasite (and the treatment) that plagued a few of the team members; this is followed by a strange cautionary exhortation to society by the author.
[*I couldn't help but think that this must have been where he got his info for his fiction novel: The Lost Island, published 2 yrs. later.]
I think I would have preferred the slide presentation, but other readers have given this high ratings so I suggest reading those glowing reviews.
56 of 65 people found this review helpful