Cy B. Hilterman "Cy. Hilterman" (Cherry Tree, PA United States)
When I started this book I was not sure if I would like it but on I continued and got into one of the most fascinating books I have read. To be in the Amazon area of South America on an expedition with nothing but jungle, heat, insects, animals, possibly cannibals, natives of unknown friendliness, and really not much positive in the area at all but danger lurking in every step. I think you can see why my mind changed quite fast when I really got into this expedition. The first expedition occurred when Nathan and Mark, both African Americans, were young and went on an expedition with a few college friends and professors all of whom were white or of mixed race. At first the brothers were outcasts because of their color but to most on the expedition, they proved themselves and mostly fit in and were a great help on the trek through such a dangerous area. The story started current day with Nathan telling his family about his adventurous trip in the Amazon so many years ago. The family was all ears and loaded with questions.
The two brothers themselves had their differences, Nathan being a leader and not afraid to express his thoughts and opinions with Mark the opposite. They got into their own battles. I think Tonto, the name Nathan gave to one of their guides, was my favorite character in the bunch. He was faithful and always there for them when needed to try to interpret the many languages they would run across as they met many tribes. Their original party was a mixed bag of various origins with varied thoughts and ideas of life and now, the jungle. The group lost some members through battles and some from illness. There are no doctors in a huge jungle. They did eventually meet a tribe that cautiously let them stay with them but neither trusted the other. Before they had left, Nathan was tricked into being their shaman when their current shaman, the tribes' spiritual leader and also one of the main advisors, was killed. The thing that Nathan didn't understand was that the shaman had to marry the chieftains' favorite daughter. How to get out of this mess? Through much planning and good fortune, what was left for the expedition arranged secretly to get away without being noticed. They still had a huge trek to get clear of the area. Eventually they tricked their way out of the area and made it back home.
Forty-years later Nathan wanted to return to see if any of his family was alive. The group was much older now and a lot less spry. Much had occurred during this second trip, some good, and some bad. The tribe had diminished in numbers and very few lived long enough to have survived the time when the expedition had previously been there. Now after a strange second trip, they had to plan their getaway once again. Eventually their plans were set. In a huge area such as the Amazon, nothing goes as planned and this case was no exception. Join the group as they continue their attempts to get home. A very good book.