Valverde's Gold

Genre: Nonfiction; Author: Mark Honigsbaum; Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Deep inside the most inhospitable stretch of the Ecuadoran Andes, an unimaginable bounty of hidden Incan gold and silver sits waiting to be taken?or maybe it?s already gone, or maybe it never existed. A centuries-old guide written by a Spanish conquistador named Valverde reveals the only known path to the treasure?but it turns cryptic just as the gold seems within reach. Such are the gripping mysteries and half-truths that goad Honigsbaum, a tenacious scholar, to mine every possible vein in his story. He describes fascinating treasure seekers, including a fiery Ecuadoran rancher and a cultured German miner, who endure relentless icy rain and the forbidding terrain’s razor-sharp bamboo. Mark Honigsbaum’s Valverde’s Gold reveals all you?d need to seek the cache yourself, but after reading this harrowing account, you’ll probably just want to search your couch for loose change.

Originally posted August 20 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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