Synopses & Reviews
The Darién Gap, the only break in the Pan-American Highway, is a place of legend. In this almost impregnable strip of swamp, jungle, and cloud forest between the land masses of North and South America, stories of abduction and murder are rife. In recent years, more people have successfully climbed Everest than have crossed the Darién Gap.
In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist, set off to Central America with one thing in mind: orchids. To find the rare and beautiful species he so fervently admired, he would have to visit some of the most inhospitable places on earth. At the same time, another young explorer, Paul Winder, was backpacking through the area. Though he sometimes worked freelance in the City of London, Paul was essentially a fearless traveler. Pure chance brought Paul and Tom together in northern Mexico; they formed an instant bond and their fate was sealed.
Ignoring a final succinct warning from the Lonely Planet guide "Don't even think about it!" Tom and Paul set off into the Darién, Tom in search of orchids, Paul in search of adventure. They would find plenty of each. For six days, they made good progress. Then, just hours away from Colombia, the dream ended and the horror began. Ambushed by FARC guerrillas, they were held hostage for the next nine months. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinary endurance, incredible ingenuity and not a little good luck.
"Clearly, surviving a nine-month jungle kidnapping requires courage and endurance. But Hart Dyke and Winder came equipped with something else in addition: pluck. It's that quality, crackling on every page, that makes The Cloud Garden one of the strangest and most satisfying adventure reads in recent memory." Men's Journal magazine
"Told in alternating voices (which works surprisingly well), this is a well-written adventure story, filled with intrigue and hope." Library Journal
Kidnapped by terrorists and held hostage at gunpoint two flower-hunting Britons live to tell their amazing tale
About the Author
Tom Hart Dyke is a botanist with a wild enthusiasm for orchids. He lives in Kent, England.
Paul Winder works in London as a banker when he isn't in the jungle or up a mountain.