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River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery down the Amazonby Buddy Levy
Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Conquistador comes this thrilling account of one of history's greatest adventures of discovery. With cinematic immediacy and meticulous attention tohistorical 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 brutalconquistador Gonzalo Pizarro and his well-born lieutenant Francisco Orellana set off from Quito in search of La Canela, South America's rumored Land of Cinnamon, and the fabled El Dorado, the goldenman. 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 descendedinto 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 Orellanamade 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, BuddyLevy 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 world's largest river. Levy gives along-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 andintimations 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 ofdeath--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 Darkness isboth riveting history and a breathtaking adventure that will sweep readers along on an epic voyage unlike any other.
From the Hardcover edition.
Chronicles the efforts of conquistadors Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco Orellana to locate the fabled El Dorado, tracing how Pizarro lost half his men and nearly died while Orellana became the first European to discover and navigate the Amazon.
About the Author
\Buddy Levy is the author of Conquistador: Hern
Table of Contents
A confluence of conquistadors — Birth of the golden dream — Into the Andes — El Barco and the San Pedro — The split — The plight of Gonzalo Pizarro — St. Eulalia's confluence : the Amazon — The Victoria — River of darkness, brothers of doom — The assassination of Francisco Pizarro — On the Maranon to the realm of Machiparo — Among the Omagua — Big Blackwater River — Encountering the Amazons — The Trumpeter's tale — Tides of change and a sweetwater sea — The homeward reach — The last stand of the last Pizarro — The expedition to New Andalusia : return to the Amazon.
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Biography » Historical