CITIES OF GOLD by Douglas Preston

CITIES OF GOLD

A Journey Across the American Southwest in Coronado's Footsteps
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A torturous and sometimes comical attempt to trace Coronado's 450-year-old footsteps through the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest. Preston (Dinosaurs in the Attic, 1986) and an impoverished but free-spirited photographer-friend hire a wrangler (who actually knows less about horses than they do) and set off, even after they've been discouraged by those familiar with the country. Arguing over matters large and small as they go, the two men learn en route--about horses from cowboys they meet; about thirst from the death they court. Expecting to make 25 miles a day, they make four--or none, because they're searching for their horses, which ran off during the night. And all the time, they're aware that they're headed for the despoblado, the ``howling wilderness'' that almost killed Coronado and his men. Preston and his friend end up on precipices too narrow to dismount; they're almost washed away by torrential rains; they grow discouraged and consider giving up the journey. Preston dreams of walking into fine clothing stores and is despondent when he awakens in the arid wilderness. But the two persevere and discover the awesome grandeur of nature, as well as something about themselves. And when they come upon the first of what the Spanish thought were the Seven Cities of Gold, they understand that those early explorers had found something even better than gold--they found food. Throughout, Preston recounts the narratives of Coronado's expedition and other historical accounts, including those of the Indians of the Southwest. A Blue Highways on horseback, well worth the trip. (Maps.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-73759-7
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992




Kirkus Interview
Douglas Preston
January 2, 2017

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God—but then committed suicide without revealing its location. Three quarters of a century later, bestseller Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is his account of the expedition. “A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary—trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

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