Hugh Thomson - Cochineal Red

Cochineal Red

Written by: Hugh Thomson

Peru wears its ancient cultures wrapped around in layers, like on of the mummified bodies so well preserved by the nitrates of its deserts.

After his acclaimed book on the Incas, THE WHITE ROCK, Hugh Thomson unwraps those layers to show how civilisation emerged so early and so spectacularly in this toughest and most arid of terrains.

Many of the extraordinary cultures of Ancient Peru, from the lines of Nasca to the temple-cult of Chavin, buried in the mountains, and the great pyramids of the coast, have only started to give up their secrets and antiquity in just the last few years.

As one archaeologist put it: ‘Imagine if all the discoveries of Ancient Egypt had been made so recently – the finding of Tutankhamen’s tomb, of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, of Abu Simbel – and you have some idea of the great excitement at what has been happening in Peru.’

Hugh Thomson has been at the forefront of some of these discoveries himself, having made headlines with his work near Machu Picchu. Now he takes the reader on a journey back from the world of the Incas to the first dawn of Andean civilisation, to give an immensely personal and accessible guide to the wonders that have been revealed.

‘Everywhere Thomson goes, he finds good tales to tell …’ – New York Times Book Review

‘Thomson’s story is an epic one – in an increasingly homogenous world, he has found, and describes to perfection, a mythical land.’ – Publishing News

‘Thomson belongs to a rare species of explorer. He is a writer who explores and not an explorer who writes. And it is Thomson’s extreme humility in the face of both danger and extraordinary success that places him in the same tradition as Eric Newby’ – Geographical