Book Review - The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

Preston writes an amazing story of the history and archaeological discovery of the White City (La Ciudad Blanca) situated deep within the Honduran jungle. Since the earliest day of Hernan Cortes in the early 16th century, there has always circulated rumours of a hidden city nicknamed the Lost City of the Monkey God which would bestow wealth beyond all imagination for anyone who could find it. Preston’s story provides the long history of those who have sought their fortune trying to find this fabled city along with his own search in this inhospitable and dangerous part of the world.

His personal involvement began in 2012 when he took part and reported on an aerial survey of remote valleys in La Mosquitia using state of the art Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. Able to penetrate dense forest cover to pulse lasers and measure distances to the ground and generate three-dimensional information about the area, the team identified irrefutable evidence of previously undiscovered remains of what appeared to be a city. Three years later and embedded on behalf of National Geographic, Preston sets out with a team of explorers, archaeologists and film-makers to undertake ground truthing and search for the ruins of what might be a vanished culture.  Preston wrote an article on their discovery for National Geographic which you can view here, but don't worry this barely scrapes the surface with regards what the book delivers.

Preston brings to life the search for the lost city as he and his cohorts deal with deadly fer-de-lance snakes, jaguars and hordes or insects in this most inhospitable and beautiful of environments. The excitement as they undertake the search, aided by ex-SAS soldiers and the Honduran army, is palpable and there are plenty of twists by book end that underpins just how hazardous the adventure truly was.  Whilst Preston may be better known for thrillers he writes in collaboration with Lincoln Child, with The Lost City of the Monkey God he has written a superb account of a modern day archaeological find that is well worth reading.

4 stars out of 5

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