Excerpt from The Lost City by Henry Shukman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lost City

by Henry Shukman

The Lost City
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Excitement gave way to a plunge of sadness. He felt that something had been missing from him for a long time.

Self-pity, he told himself, stop it at once. But it wasn't just self-pity. It was sadness too, that Connolly really had been here, and never would be again. He was on his own, Connolly had gone. He exhaled sharply and almost sobbed, but stopped himself. He mustn't let it start.

He fetched his sketchbook and started drawing the designs. The late light showed them up in clear relief, and on the page in thick charcoal they looked good: so simple, so stark, the eye that created them had seen the world so clearly. He thought about beginning an attempt on a chart of the site, using his green graph paper, but it was too late, the light was going and the wind would flap the paper about. Camp was the thing to attend to.

Trees he couldn't see in the valleybed would have blackened by now. It was a matter of minutes till darkness fell. He unbuckled the straps of his rucksack, relieved to be busy, and forced himself to think only of what he was doing. He pulled the tent out, shaking it loose from its pouch. It snapped like a sail. He realised he was going to have to pitch it not only in the wind, but on loose dust. He fumbled in the bag of pegs and attempted to fasten down a corner of the jumping, shifting sheet. The peg went straight in: no need to bang it with a rock. And as soon as he let it go, it leaned over in the dry sand and the tent slipped downwind, pulling the peg with it. It flipped over onto a rock.

He left it there and fetched big stones, bringing them over one by one. He knew he didn't need the tent, it seldom rained here, but he wanted a real camp. He had carried two logs all the way up in the backpack and was planning on a fire. A fire and a tent. And tomorrow while he was sketching things out it would be good to have a base. A tent was a mobile office, as well as a study, a bedroom. And he liked his tent: green impregnated canvas, the old two-pole style: a triangular home. A man on his own in the world needed a tent, the home of the wanderer. Except he wasn't a wanderer but a quester. Or else nothing but an escapee, a deserter.

He didn't care what he was. What mattered was that he was free. He had brought himself here, to northern Peru. He had done it. That was what mattered. Connolly had told him: think of the high, man, what could compare to stumbling into a lost city, the old centre of a forgotten empire? A week or two from now he'd know.

For several weeks he'd been on the loose in the unknown continent. He'd bought a one-way ticket. He had known the moment he entered the door of the dingy office block behind Oxford Street, one of those buildings with a hundred business names taped up by the door, that he was doing the right thing. Things were salvageable after all. Life was broader than you thought. One of the men in that shabby little office smiled and took his envelope full of notes: £270. Which left him a little short of £700 in the bank. The travel agent nodded and counted. You ever coming back? he asked, laughing. The joke of a man who had his daily work to attend to.

A blue ticket, filled in by hand: London–Lima. Lloyd Aero Boliviano, whatever that was. A flight into the unknown, with his own private thread of purpose wrapped about his hand. Just enough. And now the thread had become a rope and was holding. He mustn't let it go.

In the dusk he fetched the tent back. The wind ripped right through the spot he had chosen. He got the corners weighted with stones then bundled his way inside with the poles. The tent took on a flowing loose shape. He crawled out carefully, conscious of the need for doing everything right if you were alone in the world, and on a trail.

He sat and waited. Maybe the wind would die. He remembered that happening before: a wind that got up at dusk and died soon after nightfall.

Excerpted from The Lost City by Henry Shukman Copyright © 2008 by Henry Shukman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!