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River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 22, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"River of Darkness immediately takes its place as the definitive book on one of the great voyages into the unknown of all time, Orellana's accidental first descent of the Amazon. Not only is it a solid contribution to the scholarly literature on Amazonia, but it is a riveting and irresistible read, narrative history of a literary quality rarely encountered that compares with Alan Moorehead's great books on the Nile. Bravissimo !" -- Alex Shoumatoff, contributing editor, Vanity Fair; publisher DispatchesFromTheVanishingworld.com,
and author of In Southern Light, The Rivers Amazon, and The World is Burning
“In River of Darkness, Buddy Levy proves that the scariest stories are the true ones. Filled with fascinating details and the terror that comes with exploring something for the very first time, this is history coming back to life.”
- Brad Meltzer, Bestselling author of The Book of Fate and The Inner Circle
“Buddy Levy is one of those rare and gifted authors whose books are virtual time machines that effortlessly transport us back through centuries. In River of Darkness, we participate in one of history’s signal explorations, Francisco Orellana’s descent of the Amazon River. We see blood, smell smoke, hear screams of joy and agony. Levy’s impeccably researched book is at once harrowing adventure and revealing history. Better than any in recent memory, River of Darkness sheds new light—and reveals the darkest aspects—of the Conquistadors’ brave and bloody New World forays.”
-James M. Tabor, Author of Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth.
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Top Customer Reviews
Levy's "Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztec" was terrific. Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs is a complex story, and Levy's book synthesized the myriad of sources well and told an enlightening and engaging story.
In "Rivers of Darkness", Levy journeys south of Cortes' New Spain (Mexico), hops around the Inca Empire and travels the length of the mighty Amazon River following the travails of conquistador and explorer Francisco Orellana.
Orellana was actually a cousin to the Pizarro clan and, though a generation younger than Francisco Pizarro, established himself as a brave and loyal supporter of the Pizarro's during their conquest of the Incas in Peru. After providing a small army of support during a particularly tricky stage of the Inca conquest, Orellana was rewarded with a large land holding outside of modern Quito which, at the time, was part of the northernmost reaches of the Inca/Pizarro Empire.
Levy reviews key moments of Pizarro's foray into South America. Francisco Pizarro had been part of Cortes' conquest in Mexico, and he was Balboa's second-in-command when he discovered the Pacific Ocean. Adventure, glory and riches were ingrained on Francisco, as were the methods to achieve them. Taking a page from Cortes' book, Pizarro's entrance into Peru, and rapid conquest of the Incas, was aggressive and bold.Read more ›
A gripping, mesmeric read. Could not turn the pages fast enough!
Mr. Levy's colorful and descriptive journalism illustrates the countless dangers, hardships and misfortunes experienced by these Spanish conquistadors throughout their total descent of the Amazon River in 1541-1542.
He brings to light the highly conjectural departure of Francisco Orellana from Gonzalo Pizzaro; contemporary times in South America and Spain; the never ending quest for El Dorado; treatment of indigenous people and especially how Orellana's and Pizzaro's conduct towards them were complete opposites, plus so much more within the pages of this stunning read.
For compelling high adventure in discovery and exploration, this book ranks right alongside Laurence Bergreen's "Over the Edge of the World" for the personal library.
Eventually Orellana had to build a second boat to continue descending the river as it got larger and wider.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really good story, well told, with references to current research.Published 19 days ago by Craig E. Hodge
This book helped me through my history final and provided specific details of the events that lead to the exploration of the Amazon.Published 2 months ago by Trinity Kruse
Great book on this drama - amzing Amazon drama. Easy to read but full of mindblowing ordealsPublished 2 months ago by Melissa J. Aldenhoven
I was fascinated by this book and would have given it five stars except for the fact that it seemed to lack an ending. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fascinating story a little sketchy on the goings on in Peru, but good history of real events.Published 6 months ago by Lotus Factus
This is a fascinating story of a little-known first European exploration of the Amazon River. The courage of these men was remarkable.Published 9 months ago by Palm Beach Panther