Roosevelt's Beast

8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2014. ISBN 9781629234441. $59.99; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Bayard's (The School of Night) enigmatic story fictionalizes the 1914 Roosevelt-Rondon expedition to explore the Rio da Dúvida. The expedition has been arduous; Teddy Roosevelt and Kermit, his twentysomething son, are struggling with short rations, malaria, reluctant porters, and a rugged, unforgiving terrain. They become separated from the expedition and encounter the Cinta Larga, a largely unknown Amazonian tribe. Through a female translator, Luz, the sole survivor of a missionary group, the tribe insists the men kill a "beast" that has been terrorizing tribe members. If they do this, they will be allowed to leave. Dark malarial dreams plague Kermit, giving the remaining novel a strange, eerie feeling. The lines between reality and the phantasmagoric become blurred. John Pruden's narration handles the multiple voices, multiple languages, creepy atmosphere, and animal sounds with ease, immersing the listener in this fantastic tale.
VERDICT Recommended for lovers of historic fiction with a touch of the macabre. ["Bayard describes this skillfully crafted novel as 'a psychological fantasy built out of historical events.' His nightmarish tale, reminiscent of Scott Smith's The Ruins, will appeal to fans of Dean Koontz and all those who like their adventure tinged with horror," read the review of the Holt hc, LJ 12/13.]
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