Synopses & Reviews
"A riveting and brilliant book blessed with the pacing of a novel but carrying the great weight of world events. This is journalism at its very, very best." Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm
Many of us are just awakening to the astonishing fact that uncontacted tribes continue to inhabit the far reaches of the Amazon rainforest. Deliberately hiding from the outside world, they are the unconquered, the last survivors of an ancient culture that predates the arrival of Columbus in the New World.
In this heart-stopping story of adventure and discovery, The Unconqured takes the reader into the very heart of the jungle, on the trail of one such tribe — the mysterious flecheiros, or "People of the Arrow," seldom-glimpsed warriors known to repulse all intruders with showers of deadly arrows. On assignment for National Geographic, author Scott Wallace joins Brazilian explorer Sydney Possuelo at the head of a 34-man team that ventures deep into the unknown in search of the tribe. Possuelo's mission is to protect the Arrow People. But the information he needs to do so can only be gleaned by entering a world of permanent twilight beneath the forest canopy.
Danger lurks at every step, as the expedition seeks out the Arrow People even while trying to avoid them. Along the way, Wallace uncovers clues as to who the Arrow People might be, how they have managed to endure as one of the last unconquered tribes, and why so much about them must remain shrouded in mystery if they are to survive. Laced with lessons from anthropology and the Amazon's own convulsed history, and boasting a Conradian cast of unforgettable characters — all driven by a passion to preserve the wild, but also wracked by fear, suspicion, and the desperate need to make it home alive — The Unconquered reveals this critical battleground in the fight to save the planet as it has rarely been seen, wrapped in a page-turning tale of adventure.
"National Geographic writer Wallace recounts his grueling odyssey into the remotest stretches of the Amazon Basin as he tracks down the 'Arrow People,' one of the last 'uncontacted' tribes left in the world. Wallace's 34-member expedition was led by Sydney Possuelo, a legendary sertanista (a Brazilian hybrid of woodsman, explorer, and anthropologist). On the three-month trek by riverboat, canoe, and foot, the expedition was threatened by pumas, starvation, disease, hostile natives, and tensions that develop between men in close quarters. The mercurial Possuelo's mission seems paradoxical he wants to clearly identify the 'Arrow People,' but only so that in the future they will be left completely alone. The book is overlong, and in the early chapters, Wallace tends to repeat grand pronouncements about culture, history, and the environment. His best writing focuses on the details and daily grind of the expedition and, as the book progresses, on the simple struggle for survival. Wallace nicely captures the hostility and paranoia that threaten to tear the group apart. He's equally unsparing of his own insecurity and weakness, and the contrast between the threatened Amazon and the exhausted men brings the region's harsh beauties to life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Wallace's foreboding is matched by his sense of wonder." New York Times Book Review
"A rousing adventure tale." Wall Street Journal
"Wallace's gripping account takes us upriver to a place very few outsiders have ever seen." The Boston Globe
"Dream assignment or nightmare? An editor from National Geographic asked journalist Scott Wallace to join an expedition into the deepest wilds of the Amazon jungle to find the mysterious 'People of the Arrow.' While the experience was pretty much a nightmare, it's a blessing for readers of Wallace's fascinating book." Associated Press
"Wallace joins the tribe of jungle-besotted literary types led by Redmond O'Hanlon and David Grann and presents a credibly incredible tale about his voyage past the edge of modernity." Huffington Post
In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, The Unconquered
tells the extraordinary story of a journey into the deepest recesses of the Amazon to track one of the planet's last uncontacted indigenous tribes. Author Scott Wallace follows a 34-man team into a land both wondrous and horrifying, where untrammeled nature holds sway in a land of permanent twilight. Danger lurks at every step as the expedition moves ever closer to a possible encounter with the mysterious flecheiros
— the "People of the Arrow" — a seldom-glimpsed tribe of deft archers known to defend their lands with showers of deadly arrows before melting back into the forest shadows.
Laced with anthropological insight and offering a fresh perspective on the Amazon’s own convulsed history, The Unconquered boasts a Conradian cast of unforgettable characters — all driven by a passion to preserve the wild, but also wracked by fear, suspicion, and the desperate need to make it home alive. Wallace takes the reader into the very depths of the Amazon in this page-turning tale of adventure, revealing this critical battleground as it has rarely been seen before.
Piece by piece, Wallace uncovers clues as to who the Arrow People might be, how they have managed to endure as one of the last unconquered tribes, and why so much about them must remain shrouded in mystery if they — and the rainforest on which all of depend — are to survive. Evoking an era of exploration and derring-do that has all but vanished from the Earth, The Unconquered will change the way you see the world and your place in it.
About the Author
Scott Wallace is a journalist whose assignments have taken him from the Himalayas and the streets of Baghdad to the Alaskan Arctic and the Amazon. A former correspondent for the Guardian and Newsweek, he has written for National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, and Harper’s. His photography has appeared in Smithsonian, Outside, and Sports Afield. His television credits include CBS, CNN, and National Geographic Channel.