• The Secret Token

  • Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke
  • By: Andrew Lawler
  • Narrated by: David H. Lawrence XVII
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

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The Secret Token  By  cover art

The Secret Token

By: Andrew Lawler
Narrated by: David H. Lawrence XVII
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Publisher's summary

A sweeping account of America's oldest unsolved mystery, the people racing to unearth its answer, and what the Lost Colony reveals about America today

In 1587, 115 men, women, and children arrived at Roanoke Island on the coast of North Carolina to establish the first English settlement in the New World. But when the new colony's leader returned to Roanoke from a resupply mission, his settlers had vanished, leaving behind only a single clue - a "secret token" etched into a tree.

What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? That question has consumed historians, archeologists, and amateur sleuths for 400 years. In The Secret Token, Andrew Lawler sets out on a quest to determine the fate of the settlers, finding fresh leads as he encounters a host of characters obsessed with resolving the enigma. In the course of his journey, Lawler examines how the Lost Colony came to haunt our national consciousness.

Incisive and absorbing, The Secret Token offers a new understanding not just of the Lost Colony and its fate, but of how its absence continues to define - and divide - America.

©2018 Andrew Lawler (P)2018 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Andrew Lawler warns...that Lost Colony fever is a kind of madness. Happily, that doesn’t stop him from plunging into the wild terrain of theories and conflicting evidence where so many others have disappeared. Lawler manages to do this in a clear-eyed way, conscious of whether he, too, is getting lost. He makes a good case that the search itself goes to the heart of what it means to be American. Plus, it’s just plain fascinating.... The themes of mingled races, of cultures clashing to create something new, are surprisingly fresh and powerful.” (The Washington Post)

The Secret Token, spanning more than 400 years, offers the most authoritative account of the Lost Colony to date.... [Lawler] recounts his arduous travels with clarity and insight.” (Wall Street Journal)

“[Lawler’s] willingness to chase down every lead, no matter how outlandish, and his enthusiasm for the journey as much as the destination, make The Secret Token a lively and engaging read.” (The Economist)