The book’s tagline is ‘In search of the lost ape-men of Sumatra’ and that is a topic pretty worthy of a book. Indulging in evolutionary theory, researching myths and legends as well as a lot pondering the book leads up to Allen’s expedition ran with the hope of finding the Gugu or ape-man, believed (by some more than others!) to be a missing link, holding the key piece in our evolutionary history. It’s an interesting read and Allen provides details about the build up to the trip, which at times gets a little heavy but in hindsight is probably necessary to paint the picture. Of the three, this book without doubt has the clearest feel of Great British Victorian exploration and that is probably due to the others involved in the trip (Theodore Hull). It’s again captivating and a tale with a bit more mystery than the others, less fun to read but certainly more question-provoking. Just realised my version’s also signed – what would you offer me?
I enjoyed all of Benedict Allen’s books (although ‘Mad White Giant’ was my favourite) and it’s good to find some informing non-fiction written in such a gripping way. I found with each, that it made me really want to visit each of the countries and terrains he portrays. My one criticism is that because he likes to use the native terms for things, fairly often I found myself needing a glossary of terms, which you don’t get. But if that’s my main criticism then it’s probably a good sign that he’s an author well worth investing some time in.