Book Review: The Lost City Of The Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

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30145126Author: Douglas Preston 
Release Date: 3rd January 2017
Series: 
Genre: Non-Fiction, Adventure, Anthropology, Archeology, History, True Events
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 337
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

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.

Review

The Lost City Of The Monkey God by Douglas Preston is a sensational true adventure book about the very famous legend of ‘Casa Blanca’ a lost city in the unexplored part of the Honduran rainforest.

The book started out so good that I was immediately pulled into the story. It was an exciting and a thoroughly entertaining read and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! This is the first time that I’ve read a true-adventure story and, surprisingly, this book absolutely blew my mind!

I would have never even imagined of reading this book had it not been for The Obsidian Chamber, a book co-authored by Douglas Preston. I really liked the writing style used in that book and hence, when I was offered to review this book, I immediately accepted knowing that, if not the genre, at least the writing of the author was something I was familiar with. But to my pleasant surprise, the writing in this book turned out to be even better than what I was expecting. Douglas Preston has the skill to tell a complex and technical tale in such beautiful and simple words that even a layman like me understood everything and was able to enjoy the entire book.

The only problem I had (and the reason why I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars) is that the last 2-3 chapters were a bit of a slog. They were interesting and informative, but they had a lot of stuff that bounced right off my head and left me skimming over paragraphs.

Other than this, the book is a brilliant read and gives a detailed account of not only the search missions author Douglas Preston participated in, but also about the earlier attempts and hoax discoveries related to the legend of the Lost City Of The Monkey God, which was both insightful as well as fun to read.

I’d recommend this book to all the adventure and true-adventure genre lovers and to those who wouldn’t mind taking an adventurous and a really exciting trip to a really, really beautiful legendary rainforest.

“… legends are frequently based on the truth, and this one, so persistent and long-lasting, is no exception.”

Here’s a list of the articles published on the National Geographic website along with the real photographs (these articles were also mentioned and sometimes quoted in this book):


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Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

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30169765Author: Douglas Preston Lincoln Child
Release Date: 18th October 2016
Series: Pendergast Series (Book #16)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 560
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.
A SHOCKING RETURN
Sick with grief, Pendergast’s ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive–only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.
AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT
Proctor, Pendergast’s longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance’s kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.
BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late.

Review

The Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child is the 16th book in the Pendergast series.

Before I begin the review, I’d like to mention that this is the first book in this series that I’ve read and although that is almost never a good idea, I wasn’t able to resist accepting this title when it was offered to me.

I absolutely loved reading this book. It was equal parts clever, suspenseful, full of unforeseeable twists and chilling and extremely interesting characters. I enjoyed the premise of the plot and I loved the fact that things were told in such a way that as a new reader to the series, I was able to get an idea about what might have happened in the earlier parts. I even got a decent idea as to how the chemistry between the characters worked up until this part. So I was really happy to get all the important background information that the authors cleverly infused without affecting the present narration.

This book had really strong characters and even though I did not fall in love with the main guy, AXL Pendergast (mainly because he wasn’t the main character in this particular story) I was really drawn towards the other main characters in this book. I’m pretty sure that Diogenes might have been the crazy serial killer in the parts before this one, but in this part, I loved him as he was a completely changed man standing right on the turning point in his life. And it makes me wonder that now that I actually like the villain of the story, how could I possibly read the previous parts. Anyway, back to the character dissection, I did not much like the character of Constance. She was too “ancient” for me to feel connected to her. I did love Proctor, he is this smart, intelligent and stud guy who’d do anything to protect his people. So yeah, this is one of those books that’ll make you fall in love with more than half of the characters.

The storyline was strong and so were the characters and the writing, so there was actually nothing that  I, as a reader, couldn’t have liked. The book started with one hell of a fast paced beginning with Proctor running around the world changing plane after plane chasing the kidnapper and I was hooked right from the start. But then a really mind-bending twist followed and I was like, “What the hell?” and then things started to get really interesting, to say the least.

The ending was a bit slow, but that could be overlooked considering that it is an ongoing series, so a mild closure for all the characters is needed. Though I would have loved to read more about proctor towards the end, considering that the book started with him. Also, a few scenes between Constance and Diogenes felt like a slog, especially when they both started talking about the ancient aristocratic stuff, but maybe that’s just me.

Other than these minor issues, I loved the book, so much that I’m planning to read this entire series from beginning in the coming days. If you like reading nice suspenseful stories rich with strong characters and storylines then this book (or rather series) is for you.


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