BAR HARBOR — No. 1 New York Times-bestselling author Douglas Preston, co-author of the bestselling thriller duo Preston and Child, will give an author talk and sign copies of his newest book, “The Lost City of the Monkey God,” at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m.
“Lost City” takes him deep in the heart of the Honduran wilderness in search of a lost civilization. Since the days of conquistador Hernan Cortes, rumors have circulated about an ancient White City of immense wealth hidden in the Honduran interior. Indigenous tribes spoke of ancestors who had fled there to escape the Spanish, warning that anyone who disturbs this sacred city will fall ill and die. Myths of treasure and every imaginable curse run rampant, but the fact that the city existed somewhere out in the jungles of Mosquitia was widely accepted by Hondurans.
In 1940, journalist Theodore Morde returned from the jungle with hundreds of artifacts and tantalizing stories of having seen the crumbling walls of the Lost City of the Monkey God for himself. Soon after, he committed suicide without revealing its mysterious location. Three quarters of a century later, Preston and a team of scientists using state of the art technology found for the first time the proof they had been looking for, an entire lost civilization.
With maps to guide them, a ground team ventured into the raw, breathtakingly beautiful and extremely dangerous to confirm the discovery. Preston and the team faced down torrential rains, hungry jaguars and one of the deadliest snakes in the world, the fer-de-lance. But it wasn’t until they returned from the jungle that tragedy struck: most of the team – including Preston himself – suddenly succumbed to “the curse of the Monkey God,” falling ill in a virulent outbreak of mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis, or “white leprosy,” the world’s second-deadliest parasite after malaria. This mass outbreak of disease was unusual, and the strain of Leishmania they contracted had not been encountered before, so the National Institutes of Health took the team on as a medical study group, offering to treat them all for free. The parasite is incurable, and the seven-day treatment to push it into dormancy can cause severe kidney damage – sometimes after only one or two treatments. Several members of the expedition barely survived the first round.
“What reader could resist a new book by Douglas Preston called ‘The Lost City of the Monkey God?’ Not this reader, wrote bestselling author James Patterson. “Preston’s book offers rewards for both the mystery fan and the nonfiction aficionado. ‘The Lost City’ is addictive – fast-paced and riveting, but it’s also important. We mustn’t repeat the cataclysmic mistakes of the past.” Booklist wrote, “[A] stunning discovery … . Preston’s uncommon travelogue is as captivating as any of his more fanciful fictional thrillers.”
Suspenseful and surprising, “The Lost City of the Monkey God” includes a story of adventure, danger, ancient curses, modern technology, a stunning medical mystery and a riveting eye-witness account of one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century. Visit www.lostcityofthemonkeygod.com.
Preston worked as a writer and editor for the American Museum of Natural History and taught writing at Princeton University. He has written for “The New Yorker,” “Natural History,” “National Geographic,” “Harper’s,” “Smithsonian” and “The Atlantic.” The author of several acclaimed nonfiction books, including the bestseller “The Monster of Florence,” Preston also is co-author with Lincoln Child of the bestselling series of novels featuring FBI agent Pendergast. Visit www.prestonchild.com.
Books will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor of Sherman’s Books. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust also is a co-sponsor. Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected].