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  • Published: 4 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446421819
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400
Categories:

The Cloud Garden




An exhilarating story of adventure, survival and extreme horticulture

The Darién Gap is a place of legend. The only break in the Pan-American highway, which runs from Alaska to the tip of South America, it is an almost impregnable strip of swamp, jungle and cloud forest between the vast landmasses of North and South America. Stories of abduction and murder there are rife and in recent years more people have successfully climbed Everest or trekked to the South Pole than have crossed the Darién Gap.

In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist, set off to Central America with one thing on his mind: orchids. He knew that in order to find the rare and beautiful species he so fervently admired, he would have to visit some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Unbeknown to Tom, another young explorer, Paul Winder, was backpacking through the area at the same time. Though he sometimes worked freelance in the City of London, Paul was a fearless and intrepid traveller, happier scaling volcanoes than lounging on beaches. In every bar and café along his route, rumours abounded of the Darién Gap - and the more he heard, the greater became his desire to make the journey. Pure chance brought Paul and Tom together in northern Mexico; they formed an instant bond and their fate was sealed.

Ignoring a final, succinct warning from the Lonely Planet guide - 'Don't even think about it!' - Tom and Paul set off into the Darién: Tom in search of orchids, Paul in search of adventure. They would find plenty of each. For six days they made good progress. Then, just hours away from Colombia, the dream ended and the horror began. Paul and Tom were ambushed by FARC guerrillas who were to hold them hostage for the next nine months. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinary endurance, incredible ingenuity and not a little good luck ...

  • Published: 4 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446421819
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400
Categories:

About the authors

Tom Hart Dyke

Tom Hart Dyke is a botanist whose wild enthusiasm for plants in a Channel 4 To the Ends of the Earth documentary led Kathryn Flett of the Observer to describe him as 'the new David Bellamy'. He is also the star of BBC2's Save Lullingstone Castle and Return to Lullingstone Castle which chronicle his adventures building a World Garden of Plants at his ancestral home in Kent.

Paul Winder

Paul Winder is an inveterate traveller and explorer. When he isn't hacking his way through the jungle or climbing a mountain he works in the City of London. He lives in London.

Praise for The Cloud Garden

'Funny, engrossing and moving... Throughout the dark days, the luminous personalities of Hart Dyke and Winder shine through'

Guardian

'Part adventure story, part travel memoir, part personal revelation, The Cloud Garden is one of the most exciting and interesting books I have read for years'

Sunday Telegraph

'Truly captivating'

The Scotsman

'A terrifying but hilarious story of true British grit and eccentricity...An emotional rollercoaster of fear and farce'

Daily Mail

'An amazing story, well-told, thrilling and moving...kidnapped by terrorists, held hostage at gunpoint, in fear of being beheaded...A mixture of hell and farce'

The Times

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