Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gold of the gods by Bear Grylls

Beck Granger is visiting Colombia with his Uncle Al on a trip that is a mystery right up until the point where their host proclaims that they will be going in search of the lost city of gold, the legendary El Dorado.  Searching for the legendary city seems like a dream, that soon turns into a nightmare with the disappearance of Uncle Al and their host Mayor Rafael de Castillo.  The nightmare is not over though as the chief of police secures Beck and the mayors children Marco and Christina inside the manor, but Beck has other plans and the three teenagers are soon on a dangerous trip across deadly seas and dangerous jungles in an attempt to find the lost city so they can save their loved ones.  But there is something mystical surrounding the lost city and those who try to find it, and the search may be more deadly than they know as they race against time.

This is part of a larger series of books featuring young Beck Granger as the hero.  His survival skills and ability to work across a range of potentially lethal environments are explained away through a series of comments about the places he has been when he learnt the various skills either through his adventurous father, or through the indigenous people he has meet on the families travels.  There are other books that have this strong sense of reality, that there could really be a Beck out there somewhere who has learnt all these ways to survive, and who could really be living these adventures right now. 

Bear Grylls is a well known survivalist and his successful television series shows that he is not making this stuff up, he really knows how to survive these situations and that comes across loud and clear with Beck - although at times he does come across as sounding way too mature for his age.  The storyline is punchy and moves along at a good clip and the reading age would suit confident younger readers as young as 8, but would also suit teenagers who like to read something interesting without having to tax themselves too much reading it.  There are other series for younger readers and teenagers, but Grylls has blended fact and fiction together very well here into a very fast paced and enjoyable read that will appeal to both girls and boys (though probably more the boys).  A great read for reluctant readers who enjoy watching and learning about all the survival skills Bear Grylls has to share.

If you like this book then try:
  • Way of the wolf by Bear Grylls
  • Survival by Chris Ryan
  • Red eye by Susan Gates
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • Man eater by Justin D'Ath
  • Anaconda ambush by Justin D'Ath

Reviewed by Brilla

1 comment:

  1. As a fifty-something who read this book because a 13-year-old friend recommended it, I find the hero and the story more appealing and believable in many ways than the leading men and plots of more "adult" adventures (Indiana Jones, James Bond, Dan Brown's protagonists). One is humbled learning about the complex, dangerous world that we suppose we have mastered. The episode where Beck is harassed by monkeys who obviously see him as some insipid "hairless ape" is both chilling and funny. Beck comes across as good natured and capable, imparting useful knowledge to the reader, while respectful of others, be they his Columbian friends or native peoples. Mr. Grylls weakens his story, I think, by allowing the adult characters to accept Beck's shenanigans (if he were a legal adult, he could be charged with abducting the mayor's children); and the author should go easy on the similes.