on 19 December 2002
I first came across this book whilst I was at university. A friend of mine had heard of the title and found it in a second hand book sale for 50p and offered to lend it to me.
One of the best features about the book is that it reads like fiction even though it is largely a commentary on actual events. The author, Lt. Col. Percy Henry Fawcett was a man of many talents. He was ranked highly in the army, was a keen sportsman, had a flair for languages and also designed national rail networks. In the first part of the twentieth century he was commisioned to discover lost cities deep inside the South American rainforests. Many of the his disoveries within the jungle seem like they are straight out of Hollywood blockbuster; anacondas up to 100 feet in length, a spider in a hotel room the size of a dinner plate killing residents, attacks from cannibals on the Amazon not to mention his famous disappearance when so close to realising his goal.
The book was written in the form of a diary and the fact that it was written to his family gives a feeling that you know the author personally. You also get a feeling for his enthusiasm to achieve the goal that may have ultimately cost him his life. Despite the dangers that he faced, he returned back time and time again to fulfill the task that had been asked of him.
Percy Fawcett was a truly magnificent person, one of a kind and when I first read the book I had never heard of him. Once I had read it the first time I knew it was the best book I had ever picked up and that no other would ever come near. Since the day I finished it I have recommended it every person I know and hopefully this testimony will encourage others to do the same. The kind of book you will read again and again.
on 9 December 2007
Great adventure story which reads like fiction as the previous reviewer said but is based on the great man's diaries. Col P H Fawcett is one of those men bred by Empire to explore whether it be darkest Africa, the North West Frontier or the Amazon. Whether by force of will or by holding up his British passport the man could stop 100 Cannibals charging down a hill at him.
Loved this book and will re-read it again and again. I feel privilaged to have been some of the places mentioned in the book, which is one reason I was drawn to it, and his descriptions leave echo's in my head when I think of them today.