The Darien Gap, the only break in the Pan-American Highway, is a place of legend. In this almost impregnable strip of swamp, jungle, and cloud forest between the land masses of North and South America, stories of abduction and murder are rife. In recent years, more people have successfully climbed Everest than have crossed the Darien Gap.
In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist, set off to Central America with one thing in mind: orchids. To find the rare and beautiful species he so fervently admired, he would have to visit some of the most inhospitable places on earth. At the same time, another young explorer, Paul Winder, was backpacking through the area. Though he sometimes worked freelance in the City of London, Paul was essentially a fearless traveler. 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 Darien, 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. Ambushed by FARC guerrillas, they were held hostage for the next nine months. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinaryendurance, incredible ingenuity--and not a little good luck . . .