I decided to delve into a non-fiction book for this week’s blog – The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston. (Preston is co-author with Lincoln Child of the famed FBI agent Pendergast series of novels, but has also written for National Geographic, American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian and others.)
This novel tells about the legend of a lost city of hidden wealth in the Honduran interior and how a group of scientists, archaeologists and explorers discovered a hidden cache in the rainforest jungles of that country in 2012. The journey is treacherous and drug cartels control most of the country. There are also deadly snakes, disease-carrying insects, torrential rains, howler monkeys and more. But the site that they eventually discover is wonderful and has not been touched by humans in hundreds of years. (The exploration of this area continues even today.) The story also details a disease that many of the scientists/writers contracted while in the country – a disease that is not common in the U.S., but is common in many parts of the world – leishmaniasis. I thought there were many connections to our current pandemic, even though the disease is different.
The Lost City of the Monkey God is very heavy in historical detail – sometimes the medical and scientific facts make the selection slow to read and a little dry. However, I highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested in history, exploration and ancient cultures. I especially enjoyed the passages about the days and nights the group actually spent in the rainforest. It made me appreciate my “pampered” life!