In the spring of 1925, the world’s most celebrated explorer and his son disappeared without a trace during a search for a forgotten civilization deep in the Amazon, and were never heard from again. In the eight decades since, nearly one hundred people have died looking for them, and the “lost city” they sought has been relegated to myth by most historians and archaeologists.
This remarkable true story is more thrilling than any novel I’ve ever read.
Are you hooked yet?
Meet David Grann, a disarming, middle-aged writer for The New Yorker who specializes in investigating the most compelling mysteries on earth. He didn’t just pour over Percy Fawcett’s journals and eyewitness accounts in the libraries of Rio and London, he booked a flight to Brazil and painstakingly retraced the explorer’s path through the jungle, stumbling upon new evidence in the folklore of locals and discovering a possible source for the legends of a lost city with the help of a brazen young archaeologist. The resulting book is a frantic, sensational account of parallel journeys separated by nearly a century, but joined by a like-hearted obsession with the unknown.
Grann’s prose is as compelling as any fiction. The book doesn’t read like a history lecture, using novelistic narrative techniques in the vein of another true-story romp, Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. The period details, real-life quotations, and historical insights are fascinating. And the Amazon itself becomes the story’s fearsome antagonist in a lifelong battle with the men who try to conquer her.
If you like a good mystery, a fascinating character, and an awe-inspiring setting, pick this book up today. Reading it is an adventure in itself. Brad Pitt has already bought the film rights and plans to star as Fawcett himself.
Also, twelve of Grann’s best articles from The New Yorker were just released as a book called The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read several of them, and each story is just as compelling as Z. You can still find most of the articles online, over here. Read them now!
Cover image via Doubleday.