Sunday, November 12, 2017

How a Trip to Peru Inspired a Novel: The Lost City of the Condor

Our Trip to Peru to Find Inspiration for The Lost City of the Condor

To research our novel The Lost City of the Condor, Loretta and I were fortunate to have taken a trip to Peru. We both wanted most of all to see  Machu Picchu, the fabulous city of the Inca and walk the Inca trail.

Lima, Cuzco, and the Weavers of Peru 

We began our journey in Lima, Peru.  Though it was summer, that night it got so cold we thought we would freeze.  We started hunting for blankets and begged the hotel manager for a plug-in electric heater, which saved our lives.  The city is big and modern, with many parks and flowers and monuments.  It is known for its world-famous gold museum.

 Shortly after, we started out by plane for the little city of Cuzco (often spelled Cusco) This is a beautiful place high up in the mountains, so high that the elevation is over 11,000 feet.  We met with our guide, Washington, and a group of travelers.  Every day, we had to drink plenty of water and coca tea, which helps with the dizziness and light-headedness that comes with higher elevation.

In the course of our travels we met  many of the local Peruvians.  In the little town of Chinchero, we learned about the expert weavers.  They make beautiful rugs and other woven goods from the wool of the alpaca.  The weavers have their unique designs and symbols that have been handed down through generations.

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail

A train took us high up in the mountains to the ruins of Machu Picchu. If a person sees one thing in their lifetime, it should be this sight.  The ruins, half hidden by misty clouds are breathtaking.  We rose one morning early and walked the Inca trail.  This is quite a feat at that elevation, as the thinness of the air makes the step heavy and leaves climbers gasping for breath. But we made it!

 Capacocha Burials

Before starting on the trip I had read about the perfectly-preserved frozen mummy of a young girl who was found in the Andes  mountains who had been sacrificed to the gods by the Incas.  The scientists named her Juanita  This was years ago, and since then other sacrifices have also been found.  We learned that buried alongside these rare graves high in the Andes are often rare treasures of gold.  When our heroine, Arla, learns that the site is about to be plundered, she begins a race against time to find and preserve the burial and its contents.  Though we did not climb the Andes ourselves, we did extensive research to see how the climb is accomplished.

With all that we had discovered, we decided to write a fiction story based around our heroine, archaeologist Arla Vaughn, who learns of a lost city similar to Machu Picchu hidden deep in the jungle, and who follows the trail to a rare burial high up in the Andes.  Of course, she's not the only one who knows about this treasure.  Ruthless criminals follow, trailing her, watching for any clue that will lead them first to the rare site and the treasure they seek--the golden condor!

About our Archaeology Books and Series

Loretta and I enjoy writing books about archaeology and rare treasures.  Our Ardis Cole series features Ardis Cole, who travels the world and solves mysteries that center around ancient tombs and other sites.

Our Arla Vaugh Pre-Columbian Treasure series concentrates on the special treasures of Mesoamerica. The Lost City of the Condor, with its concentration on the Inca,  is the second book in the series.  A companion book with the same character, The Mayan Mask of Death, takes place in Honduras.  Another book, concerning an Azetec treasure, is planned for the future.

The Lost City of the Condor was a 2013 Reader's Favorite Finalist in Adventure.

Click this Amazon Link to Purchase The Lost City of the Condor