‘Upon it no mark showed, no river, no mountain, no city – only the single word UNKNOWN.’
It is the 15th of December in the year of our Lord’s birth 2013, your journey begins with this review and continues onto New Spain the setting of this high adventure, so please venture yourself to gather quills, compasses and star charts and have them at the ready…
It begins in a cell in a fortress situated on the East coast of Mexico, the drawing of a map and the tracing of a story, a story of vast distances and also of life.
Does it not interest you to know what lies there? What glittering cities of gold and treasure?’
Treasure maps, you have to love ’em and as History will attest, greedy Europeans were right at home brutalising other nations in order to gain this infamous metal. Just like real history though, the lengths gone to for the hunt and the distressing situations the treasure seekers get into are utterly fascinating and create timeless stories.
The author has made this a book for all ages, down to a simple narrative that is as compelling, as for adults as it is for the younger reader, it helps to have a central character who is only 15 as well in that respect. Just like treasure island, King Solomon’s Mines et al, the exploration is immediately evocative of the time period, that pushing into the emptiness of the map, a sense of country as yet unspoiled by mass human inhabitants, the need to know to seek new minerals, push frontiers and above all to be dramatic and ignore the plight of the indigenous people.
33The obsessional madness that drives otherwise sane people to be reckless and dredge the depths of stupidity in their pursuit of the yellow stuff really does bring to the fore, what we hold dear and what values we choose for our lives. It is easy to forget that the narrator was 15 when the adventures he shared in occurred.
‘It does not haunt me, but I think of it. I would like to travel and see it’
This is a book you will fly through, two or three sittings should have you done with it, I loved the intentional – or not – echoes of epic journeys taken, including such fine works as Voss and Allan Quatermain. The lightness of the narrative makes for a read that shows the implications of greed and humans behaving despicably but this is never made to seem to over simplified even though the writing style is very easy to get into.
it all seemed a bit familiar when I started to read it and it didn’t take long to realise that it was the inspiration for the awesome hit TV show The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the characters are more well-rounded and developed in the book though as you would expect. Just like the TV series there is that sense of wonder…that enticing feeling that keeps us searching and reading only to discover there is more we must know.
‘Far off rose mysterious mountains, watching over a land no map maker had yet set eyes upon.’
This is the country marked UNKNOWN, by which I mean every new book you have yet to read