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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of Conquistador comes this thrilling account of one of history's greatest adventures of discovery. With cinematic immediacy and meticulous attention to historical detail, here is the true story of a legendary 16th-century explorer and his death-defying navigation of the Amazon - river of darkness, pathway to gold.

In 1541, the brutal conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro and his well-born lieutenant Francisco Orellana set off from Quito in search of La Canela, South America's rumored Land of Cinnamon, and the fabled El Dorado, "the golden man". Driving an enormous retinue of mercenaries, enslaved natives, horses, hunting dogs, and other animals across the Andes, they watched their proud expedition begin to disintegrate even before they descended into the nightmarish jungle, following the course of a powerful river.

Soon hopelessly lost in the swampy labyrinth, their numbers diminishing daily through disease, starvation, and Indian attacks, Pizarro and Orellana made a fateful decision to separate. While Pizarro eventually returned home barefoot and in rags, Orellana and 57 men, in a few fragile craft, continued downriver into the unknown reaches of the mighty Amazon, serenaded by native war drums and the eerie cries of exotic predators. Theirs would be the greater glory.

©2011 Buddy Levy (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A richly textured account of the rogue, rebel and visionary whose discovery still resonates today." ( Kirkus)

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Amazing!

Where does River of Darkness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely in the top ten - up there with 1491 (which I have listened to several times)....

Any additional comments?

Conquistadors were people too. It was so interesting to hear the story of conquest from the perspectives of the people who became conquistadors. It reminded me of today's youth who join the military to get ahead financially. Also, the socio-economic context in Spain was interesting - it was not static as I used to think, but evolved. But above all it was an adventure story. Mainly about Orellana - but also focused quite a bit on the Pizzaro brothers. I had never heard the story of Pizzaro's turning on the authority of the king...
Really fantastic! I just wish it was longer - only 9 hours - could have easily been 29. The narrator was also one of the best I have ever listened too. I am starting Buddy Levy's other book Conquistador book tonight.