'Full of mystery and danger, bravery and tragedy, with a rapturous love story at its core...a marvellous read' DENNIS LEHANE, author of Mystic River
In 1735 a team of French scientists ventured into the South American wilderness to resolve one of the great scientific challenges of the time: the precise size and shape of the Earth. Scaling the Andes and journeying along the Amazon, the mapmakers faced all manner of danger. Madness, disease and violent death each took their toll, but one of them, Jean Godin, fell in love with a local girl called Isabel Grameson.
When the time came to return to France, Godin travelled ahead to ensure the way was safe for his new family. However, on reaching French Guiana, disaster struck and he found himself stranded, unable to return to Isabel. What followed lies at the core of this extraordinary tale - a heartbreaking twenty-year separation that ended when Isabel, believing she might never see her husband again, decided to make her own way across the continent. But what began in hope became hell on earth...
Drawing on his own experience retracing Isabel's epic trek as well as contemporary records, Robert Whitaker recounts a captivating true story of love and survival set against the backdrop of what many still regard as 'the greatest expedition the world has ever known'.
'An unlikely page-turner...as a testament to frustration, endurance and mutual devotion, this takes some beating' SUNDAY TIMES
'In the brilliant tradition of Dava Sobel's Longitude...combines powerful storytelling with excellent historical research, in a book that reads like a novel' ALAN LIGHTMAN, author of Einstein's Dreamsshow more