Among the Spanish explorers of the new world, the name Balboa is perhaps most familiar to American school children. Yet how unlike a text book presentation is this detailed, skillfully written saga of his exploits. For before that momentous discovery of the Pacific Ocean Balboa had undergone a full range of adventures from Juan de la Cosa's ill fated expedition, to Enciscoe's trip to San Sebastian. Contending with the greed and enmity of countless rival adventurers, Balboa finally earned the right to govern Darien only to lose it in due time to the wicked Spanish envoy. The ideals he lived by, devotion to his king, fair treatment of the natives and the need to fulfill his own wanderlust, illustrate an eventful career which ends tragically in his unjust execution. The facts of Balboa's life, without any frills, are objectively rendered yet reads like a swashbuckling novel.