Paradise of the Damned: The True Story of an Obsessive Quest for El Dorado, the Legendary City of Gold (Hardcover)

Paradise of the Damned: The True Story of an Obsessive Quest for El Dorado, the Legendary City of Gold By Keith Thomson Cover Image
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The transporting account of an obsessive quest to find El Dorado, set against the backdrop of Elizabethan political intrigue and a competition with Spanish conquistadors for the legendary city’s treasure

As early as 1530, reports of El Dorado, a city of gold in the South American interior, beckoned to European explorers. Whether there was any truth to the stories remained to be seen, but the allure of unimaginable riches was enough to ensnare dozens of would-be heroes and glory hounds in the desperate hunt. Among them was Sir Walter Raleigh: ambitious courtier, confidant to Queen Elizabeth, and, before long, El Dorado fanatic.
Entering the Elizabethan court as an upstart from a family whose days of nobility were far behind them, Raleigh used his military acumen, good looks, and sheer audacity to scramble into the limelight. Yet that same swagger proved to be his undoing, as his secret marriage to a lady-in-waiting enraged Queen Elizabeth and landed him in the Tower of London. Between his ensuing grim prospects at court and his underlying lust for adventure, the legend of El Dorado became an unwavering siren song that hypnotized Raleigh.
On securing his release, he journeyed across an ocean to find the fabled city, gambling his painstakingly acquired wealth, hard-won domestic bliss, and his very life. What awaited him in the so-called New World were endless miles of hot, dense jungle packed with deadly flora and fauna, warring Spanish conquistadors and Indigenous civilizations, and other unforeseen dangers. Meanwhile, back at home, his multitude of rivals plotted his demise.
Paradise of the Damned, like Keith Thomson’s critically acclaimed Born to Be Hanged, brings this story to life in lush and captivating detail. The book charts Raleigh’s obsessive search for El Dorado—as well as the many doomed expeditions that preceded and accompanied his—providing not only an invaluable history but also a gripping narrative of traveling to the ends of the earth only to realize, too late, that what lies at home is the greatest treasure of all.

About the Author

Keith Thomson is the author of the nonfiction book Born to Be Hanged, as well as several novels, including Pirates of Pensacola and the New York Times bestseller Once a Spy. The former Columbia history major also writes nonfiction for the New York Times, Garden & Gun, and the Huffington Post on a range of topics, including national security and piracy. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Praise For…

“Elizabethan-era English explorer Walter Raleigh’s quest for the mythical gold-filled city of El Dorado is vividly recreated in this rollicking account from bestseller Thomson . . . Thomson’s breezy and puckish narration makes the historical subject matter sizzle. Readers will relish this enticing romp through the Age of Exploration.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Born to Be Hanged:

"Thomson does a fine job mining the historical record for all this swash and buckle . . . A larger-than-life tale . . . It reads, quite literally, like a pirate novel."—New York Times Book Review

“Unleashes an epic history of a band of ‘gentlemen pirates.’”—Washington Post

“This swashbuckling history recounts a two-yearlong pirate raid in the 17th century along the Pacific coastline, with over 300 dastardly buccaneers in search of Spanish gold.”—USA Today

“Thomson is an engaging and enthusiastic writer.”—The Economist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316497008
ISBN-10: 0316497002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English