Monday, March 14, 2016

The Boiling River by Andres Ruzo

Title: The Boiling River
Author: Andres Ruzo
Read by: Andres Ruzo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 2 hours and 37 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

When Andres Ruzo was a young boy, his grandfather told him of a great legend in Peru.  The conquistadors had come to the country looking for treasure, and learned of a lost city of gold hidden in the Amazonian rain forest from the Incas.  The conquistadors set off to find this City of Gold, but were turned back by a boiling river.

Ruzo grows up and becomes a geologist.  While working on his PhD in the United States, Ruzo returns to Peru to make a geothermal map of the country.  While there, he is sidetracked by the idea of the boiling river.  He sets off on an adventure in the Amazon to find the river and to determine what could have caused such a natural phenomenon.  He also worries about the impacts of his discoveries and the environmental impacts of changes in the Amazon.

This short audiobook was packed full of adventure, environmental dilemma, and science.  I loved it.  Andres Ruzo narrated the tale himself.  I’ll admit, I thought it was too fantastical to be real and was surprised when I looked it up to find out it was a true story.  It was a great adventure to listen to, but I also loved that Ruzo worried about the impacts of the world finding out about his discovery and what that could mean to those that live by and love the boiling river.  I took a couple of geology courses in my college days, but I am not an expert.  You can listen to this without a profound understanding of geology and get a lot out of the story.

This audiobook had some wonderful quotes.

I want to get this one made into a sign in my lab:

“Science is not about the story we want to hear, but the story the data tells us.”

I love this quote, as this story was great proof of it.

“Fiction does not have the monopoly on the unbelievable.”

This acknowledgement cracked me up:

“I would like to thank my wife Sophia.  You are my rock and as a geologist, you know how much this means to me.”

This audiobook was a part of the new TED books series based off of the successful TED talks that are on a variety of fascinating subjects.  I need to find more of these books.  Here is a TED talk with Andres Ruzo talking about this story.
Overall, a great audiobook if you are looking for a great non-fiction adventure.  I vastly enjoyed this audiobook.


  1. Laura, terrific review of this audio book, Laura. The acknowlegdment is funny. Unfortunately, I could not hear the Ted Talk.

  2. This must have been right up your alley! I never heard of a boiling river. How fascinating. I thing I would love this book too.

  3. I apologize. I just watched this clip on Monday before I posted it, I'm not sure why it is no longer available.

  4. Okay - I just added a link and took out the embedded video, hopefully this works better. Thank-you for letting me know!

    1. Thank you, Laura! No worries (sometimes these links simply stop working). Thank you for providing a new link. It really is fascinating!