The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

by Douglas Preston

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455540020
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 8,009
File size: 45 MB
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About the Author

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Place of Birth:

Cambridge, Massachusetts


B.A., Pomona College, 1978

Table of Contents

1 The Gates of Hell 1

2 Somewhere in the Americas 7

3 The Devil Had Killed Him 11

4 A Land of Cruel Jungles 20

5 One of the Few Remaining Mysteries 26

6 The Heart of Darkness 39

7 The Fish That Swallowed the Whale 52

8 Lasers in the Jungle 60

9 Something That Nobody Had Done 65

10 The Most Dangerous Place on the Planet 74

11 Uncharted Territory 88

12 No Coincidences 105

13 Fer-de-Lance 113

14 Don't Pick the Flowers 124

15 Human Hands 139

16 I'm Going Down 148

17 A Bewitchment Place 160

18 Quagmire 170

19 Controversy 182

20 The Cave of the Glowing Skulls 194

21 The Symbol of Death 211

22 They Came to Wither the Flowers 219

23 White Leprosy 233

24 The National Institutes of Health 249

25 An Isolated Species 259

26 La Ciudad del Jaguar 271

27 We Became Orphans 289

Acknowledgments 303

Sources and Bibliography 305

Index 319

About the Author 327

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The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read, very thought provoking. I couldn't put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A true 21st Century adventure story that reads like a novel . Well written and fast paced , it shows the plight of archaeology in what is probably the most remote place on earth .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lost City is mostly a travelogue with little info on the site itself, so a letdown. Pages on how trip was organized and irrelevant background on team members, but just few paragraphs on what they saw there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reveals what most of us would consider extreme hardship, but handled by the author without excessive worry for his own safety.
BillMichalek More than 1 year ago
The tale begins with a bit of backstory on the legendary White City aka the City of the Monkey Gods, purported to be hidden deep in the Honduran rain-forest. After recounting subsequent failed – or outright fraudulent – past expeditions to find the place, the author proceeds with a well-written chronicle of the recent “discovery” of the city using advanced laser-mapping techniques that provide 3D models of the ground even when said ground is choked with the fauna of the rain forest. A subsequent “ground thruth’ing” expedition is organized and the author is invited along. Without giving away too much, this first hundred or so pages is fascinating and a bit of a page turner. The expedition is examined in a number of contexts, including the necessity of extracting the relevant permits from a convoluted and corrupt Honduran government. The trek through the dense jungle and the setup of a campground gives us a vivid insight into the tribulations of living in a rain-soaked, bug and snake infested quagmire. The subsequent publication of the findings and the not always exuberant reaction of the scientific community is also interesting. After that, however, it’s as if the author has finished the meat of the tale and finds himself a couple of hundred pages short of a respectable tome. He spends several chapters discussing the history of pandemics in the America’s brought on by the arrival of the conquistadors. All as part of a speculation as to why the discovered area was apparently rapidly abandoned a thousand or more years ago. Sort of goes all Jared Diamond on us, but in the form of a seventh grader primer. He repeatedly speculates wildly based on scant evidence and, indeed, begins to validate some of the scientific communities concern about the sensationalist nature of the entire project. After that, much of the rest of the book seems to deal with minutia about a certain tropical disease he and several other members of the expedition contracted. Chapters zip by with more and more about this disease, with nary a word about the expedition after which his book is titled. He seems to run off into the weeds at some point, pointing out that the disease he contracted and other such diseases are migrating North as the result of global warming. Something like this could make a thick doctoral thesis but his underlying association of the migration with climate change amount to a quote from a single expert. As the saying goes, that’s another book. The book actually closes amid cautions about future pandemics with little tie up on the expeditions’ impact or on future return trips. My gut feeling is that the book was somewhat rushed into publication and that a deeper, more meaningful version might be delivered in five years or so after much more “ground truth’ing” has provided more data to the discussion. This guy is a good writer, with a clean and intelligent style. Maybe it is that he is typically a writer of articles that this book has the feel of a series of articles pasted together to make a buck ( ooops, I meant “book” ).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am touched and overwhelmed by challenges this team had to overcome to do archeology in Honduras. Amazing how fate brought it all together to complete this work. I enjoyed a glimpse into a newly discovered Central American civilization, and look forward to hearing more, as field research continues on the T1 city.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic recounting of the history of the eastern coast of Honduras and the archeological expeditions there and their aftermath.
AndrewReadsBooks More than 1 year ago
A while back, I read The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann. It's a tale of amazonian exploration, cultural anthropology, and scientific colonialism that I found thoroughly engaging and exciting. When I saw The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story, I was excited to go back down that rabbit hole. And in that respect, the book did not disappoint. The book has a few major 'parts', though they're not overtly specified. The first portion discussed the early history of explorations looking for the White City, and the varying excitement and duplicity that surrounded this colonial exploration. The reader is treated to tales of government corruption, mining fraud, and literal banana republics. We also meet some memorable characters - the ex-SAS security manager, the ex-smuggler fixer, the goodhearted filmmaker, and the headstrong archaeologist. Next, the expedition actually goes forwards. The author discusses much of the technical and political work that went into making the expeditions happen, including a fascinating and nontechnical discussion of LIDAR and national security issues. The exploration of the city itself feels like the shortest part of the book; I feel we spend more time on giant fer de lance snakes than on the city itself. And finally, the book concludes with the post expedition academic controversy, and far more information about leishmaniasis than I ever knew I wanted to know. The writing is very readable, and there's a good balance between scientific and technical details and engaging narrative. I find myself wanting to know more about many of the characters. Surely there's a forthcoming book about the life and times of Heinicke, right? . That said, further images would greatly help with understanding some of the findings and ideas being presented. The attention to issues of cultural autonomy and scientific merit were admirable, and something often missing in the modern exploration literature. I think my greatest disappointment is that you don't learn much about the author himself in this book, despite him being a part of the expedition and team. We see him struggle with the physical aspects of the journey, but I'd like to see more of his relationship with the other explorers. Definitely worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This seems like a great read. Its pretty much packed with interesting ideas and prospects that captivate the mind. If Ancient Antiquity is your thing, then this book is for you and even if its not your thing, this book is definitely a journey worth taking. Recommend reading. Enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, exciting and a page turner!
CaptainsQuarters 16 days ago
I have a fascination with archaeology and with lost cities of treasure (Arrr!). This book discusses the trials and tribulations of finding the legendary White City in Honduras. The book kinda had three parts. The first was a look into the history and legends regarding trying to find the lost city. The use of satellite technology to find archaeological sites of interest is absolutely fascinating. The second part was the search for the physical city itself. Surprisingly, this was me least favorite part of the book. It seemed quick and incomplete. I wanted specifics about the sites and specific findings about those people who lived there. Unfortunately the data and research are in the very early stages. So the look at the cultural significance of the sites was mild though intriguing. The last part dealt with a specific tropical disease that the research group caught. This was surprising, scary, and weirdly awesome. A quick read that I recommend.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
If this were a work of fiction, it would have been a fascinating read. That the story is fact makes it that much more riveting.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Gripping story, hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard about the book from a family member and it was a great read, interesting and informative the perspective told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very detailed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you ever fancy yourself another Indiana Jones, tis book may dispell you of this idea, or drive you toeards it. A fascinating tale of adventure and intrigue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept my interest and I was actually sad when I got to the end. It,s scary, sad and at the same time beautiful what was found in the jungle.
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story Written by: Douglas Preston Narrated by: Bill Mumy This was such an exciting audible book and filled with rich history and science. Mr Preston starts the book with how he got started on this trip and all the investigations he had to do to get information on finding what he could. He explained many trips that were tried and failed. I find this all fascinating. This was NOT a fiction book. Then the trip they make to South America takes a tremendous effort. The trek is so dangerous and they almost die several times. When the finally make it back home and think they are safe, they find that over half the members had the deadly leishmaniasis! He describes the problems of treatment and so much more. Wow, I learned so much from this book. This was just an exciting and captivating book. I enjoyed this more than his fiction books. This was an audible book and the narrator was very clear and his voice was pleasant to listen to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so intrigueing and well written. Addresses larger issues I didnt think would come up. I highly recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of his books, including his collaborations with Lincoln Child. His storytelling is thoughtful, progressive and in - depth. He does his research to the nth degree, leaving no doubt about his facts. The book is not just about the jungle adventure, it brings together every facet of what becomes of their exploration, the real life ramifications that threaten us now, here in our First World easy chairs!
Darcy714 More than 1 year ago
Writer Douglas Preston is offered the chance to cover an exploration team looking to find the Lost City of the Monkey God, also known as the White City/Ciudad Blanca. Documenting the exploration from the original research and fly overs of certain areas of interest deep in the Honduran rainforest, Preston then follows the lidar survey using a machine to show the various formations within the earth indicative of possible past civilizations. After several areas have been focused on, the team goes in to explore one and finds an intact ancient city. Preston's reporting is approached with a great deal of background research which helps to understand the area and its history better. He looks into the history of explorations in the area and relatively untouched wilderness, too overgrown and dangerous for many to attempt. The actual visit was only a week or so in length due to the intense environment they were going into which was rife with diseases, parasites and venomous snakes. Surprisingly there were no casualties on the trip despite many close calls with the nasty tempered fer del lance snakes. The notes on the research done after the fact and some other adverse effects I won't go into to avoid spoilers are summed up. I found the research and lidar and the history of the lost city fascinating as well as the after effects some experienced and the actual trip itself. It was more anticlimactic than I had hoped, but then I imagine that is because real archaeology is often pain staking work and less Indiana Jones. The information about what likely decimated the civilization was also of interest as there are many theories, most of them influenced by the clash of the Old and New worlds. Only the sum up seemed a bit overly dramatic and drawn out for my tastes. All in all, I enjoyed 3/4 of the book, but the last few chapters or so got a bit lengthy, like Preston was searching for a way to end it, but got lost in a cycle of similar thoughts and observations. Overall an enjoyable read, I just wish the final chapters had ended on a more interesting note.