9780553807509

River of Darkness : Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery down the Amazon

Levy, Buddy

ISBN 10: 0553807501 / 0-553-80750-1
ISBN 13: 9780553807509
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: 2011

Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author ofConquistadorcomes this thrilling account of one of historyrs"s greatest adventures of discovery. With cinematic immediacy and meticulous attention to historical detail, here is the true story of a legendary sixteenth-century explorer and his death-defying navigation of the Amazon-river of darkness, pathway to gold. In 1541, the brutal conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro and his well-born lieutenant Francisco Orellana set off from Quito in search of La Canela, South Americars"s rumored Land of Cinnamon, and the fabled El Dorado, "the golden man." Driving an enormous retinue of mercenaries, enslaved natives, horses, hunting dogs, and other animals across the Andes, they watched their proud expedition begin to disintegrate even before they descended into the nightmarish jungle, following the course of a powerful river. Soon hopelessly lost in the swampy labyrinth, their numbers diminishing daily through disease, starvation, and Indian attacks, Pizarro and Orellana made a fateful decision to separate. While Pizarro eventually returned home barefoot and in rags, Orellana and fifty-seven men, in a few fragile craft, continued downriver into the unknown reaches of the mighty Amazon, serenaded by native war drums and the eerie cries of exotic predators. Theirs would be the greater glory. Interweaving eyewitness accounts of the quest with newly uncovered details, Buddy Levy reconstructs the seminal journey that has electrified adventurers ever since, as Orellana became the first European to navigate and explore the entire length of the worldrs"s largest river. Levy gives a long-overdue account of the native populations-some peaceful and welcoming, offering sustenance and life-saving guidance, others ferociously hostile, subjecting the invaders to gauntlets of unremitting attack and intimations of terrifying rituals. And here is the Amazon itself, a powerful presence whose every twist and turn held the promise of new wonders both natural and man-made, as well as the ever-present risk of death-a river that would hold Orellana in its irresistible embrace to the end of his life. Overflowing with violence and beauty, nobility and tragedy,River of Darknessis both riveting history and a breathtaking adventure that will sweep readers along on an epic voyage unlike any other.


 

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