Valverde's gold : in search of the last great Inca treasure
In 1887, two British sailors landed on the coast of Ecuador and set off across the Andes on a secret mission. Their task was to locate an immense hoard of Inca gold which had been lost for hundreds of years. A botanist who had recently returned from Ecuador had provided them with documents proving it still existed and gave them the route to find it. And find it they did - but both perished before they could make their way back to the cave a second time. In Valverde's Gold, Mark Honigsbaum attempts to unravel a riddle that has inspired frustrating and fatal treasure hunts for centuries. When he delves into the botanist's life and discovers an ancient Spanish treasure guide buried in his notebook, he cannot help but be drawn into the mystery. Undeterred by the cursed history of the gold, Honigsbaum embarks on an epic journey into the last uncharted range in the Andes-the Llanganati Mountains of eastern Ecuador. This is the story of how the lure of gold intoxicates even the most level-headed of historians, and of how men-and women-are seized with the desire to claim treasure from one of the most inhospitable landscapes in the world. Honigsbaum battles through mountains, jungles, and conflicting stories, and, as he draws closer to the hidden cache, illuminates the allure of lost gold and the hold it has on our imagination.