But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya.
The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home.
The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. --Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review
"A well-documented and engaging read...The author's narrative is rife with jungle derring-do and the myriad dangers of the chase."―USA Today
"Deadly snakes, flesh-eating parasites, and some of the most forbidding jungle terrain on earth were not enough to deter Douglas Preston from a great story."―The Boston Globe
"Breezy, colloquial and sometimes very funny...A very entertaining book."―The Wall Street Journal
"This modern-day archeological adventure and medical mystery reads as rapidly as a well-paced novel, but is a heart-pounding true story."―Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"A captivating real-life adventure tale... Preston deftly explains the science behind this work and makes it exciting."―Science News
"Be prepared to turn the pages furiously as the heart of every adventurer is opened wide by the thrilling journey outlined in THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD."―The Bookreporter
"A swift and often hair-raising account... Preston pushes "The Lost City of the Monkey God" well beyond the standard adventure narrative."―The Chicago Tribune
"Packed with the power of realism and history unfolding."―The Star Ledger
"Admirers of David Grann's The Lost City of Z will find their thirst for armchair jungle adventuring quenched here... Irresistibly gripping."―Publishers Weekly, starred review