"I began to daydream about the jungle...."
On April 6, 1940, explorer and future World War II spy Theodore Morde (who would one day attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler), anxious about the perilous journey that lay ahead of him, struggled to fall asleep at the Paris Hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras.
Nearly seventy years later, in the same hotel, acclaimed journalist Christopher S. Stewart wonders what he's gotten himself into. Stewart and Morde seek the same answer on their quests: the solution to the riddle of the whereabouts of Ciudad Blanca, buried somewhere deep in the rain forest on the Mosquito Coast. Imagining an immense and immaculate El Dorado - like city made entirely of gold, explorers as far back as the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés have tried to find the fabled White City. Others have gone looking for tall white cliffs and gigantic stone temples - no one found a trace.
Legends, like the jungle, are dense and captivating. Many have sought their fortune or fame down the Río Patuca - from Christopher Columbus to present-day college professors - and many have died or disappeared. What begins as a passing interest slowly turns into an obsession as Stewart pieces together the whirlwind life and mysterious death of Morde, a man who had sailed around the world five times before he was thirty and claimed to have discovered what he called the Lost City of the Monkey God.
Armed with Morde's personal notebooks and the enigmatic coordinates etched on his well-worn walking stick, Stewart sets out to test the jungle himself - and to test himself in the jungle. As we follow the parallel journeys of Morde and Stewart, the ultimate destination morphs with their every twist and turn. Are they walking in circles? Or are they running from their own shadows? Jungleland is part detective story, part classic tale of man versus wild in the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Lost in Shangri-La. A story of young fatherhood as well as the timeless call of adventure, this is an epic search for answers in a place where nothing is guaranteed, least of all survival.
©2013 Christopher S. Stewart (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Retired police officer and a polygraph examiner...living on a ranch in the mountains.
This book is very enjoyable and well written in a style that is not complex and easy to follow.
The subject of the book does the thing that many of us only dreamed of doing. Following his passion into adventure.
The narration was perfect for this story and it didn't feel contrived...just right.
I didn't want to stop listening as I wanted to find out what happened next.
I don't normally write a review or rate books, but I enjoyed this so much I decided I wanted to thank the author for that enjoyment.
Say something about yourself!
Journalist Christopher Stewart, suffering from a bad case of Indiana Jones envy, middle-aged angst, or more likely writer's block, embarks on a trip into the Honduran jungles and rain forests...returns home to his Wall Street Journal office, and writes a book about his "deadly adventure". With an experienced anthropologist leading the expedition, maps, local guides, cell phones, even a car that drives the group to the trail, Stewart is left to bemoan the smelly lodging, the unceasing rain and mud, the junker car and terrible roads, and the superstitions of the locals that he must endure before returning home (to his publisher).
Two-thirds of the way through the book, it was clear that the trip was more of a personal problem for poor pissy Stewart than an adventure, and I began hoping for some WWII spy action (enter Theodore Morde, by far the best, but way too brief, part of this book).
Stewart rides on the tails of Morde's safari jacket for substance, whines his way through a guided hike, and in the end, leaves us pondering exactly what they found on their trek?? If you've read River of Doubt, Lost City of Z, even Shangri-La, chances are you'll feel like you've already been here...and had a better time. Stewart brings nothing new to the genre. Brick gives a solid performance with an energy that keeps a slow tale from grinding to a halt.
The journalist closes sharing his new found wisdom--the same deep realization that fellow adventurer Dorothy concluded when she clicked together her ruby slippers...
I had just finished River of Doubt and was looking for more tales of travels in the jungle. This hit the spot. Author is self deprecating and honest about his experience and expertise in the field of exploration. His candor was appreciated.
Much about the story is simply the tug of war between men who need to wander and the pressures of a sedentary family life.
I enjoyed the narration and look forward to more from this particular narrator.
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