The book is in part a funny/serious travelogue, part smart history and part investigative report into Bingham’s discovery all encompassed in an unbending adventure. Mr. Adams, who was not a serious adventurer at the beginning of the trip, did well by surrounding himself with John Leivers, a professional guide who, for me, was the highlight of this book.
I certainly understood Mr. Adams’ annoyance with what he calls “Peruvian Time.” It drove me, a person who considers being on time as being late, absolutely nuts. There is a whole another issue which Mr. Adams passed on telling about the loose definition of “the truth” as well as foreigners being “fair game”/walking ATM machines, all of which simply rang up a wrong nerve with me.
Adams’ journey parallels the one Bingham describes in his books Inca Land and Lost City of the Incas. Adams writes a very readable narrative of his journey, Inca history, Bingham’s adventures as well as a little Peruvian history and culture tidbits.
Being that the first hand research material that is available for the Inca Empire has been chopped and diced by the emperors to glorify themselves, Adams does an excellent job pulling different resources to conjure up the beginnings of the Spanish conquest of the continent.
As I mentioned, I wish I had this book accessible to me in 1992, when I walked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The trail is filled with Inca ruins which I made a point to visit and when I reached Machu Picchu I absolutely knew that was the end. However, I completely missed the relationship of the trail with the famous site.