A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt’s ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition—a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map
1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are traveling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a never-before-seen Amazonian tribe, the great hunters are asked one thing in exchange for their freedom: find and kill a beast that leaves no tracks and that no member of the tribe has ever seen. But what are the origins of this beast, and how do they escape its brutal wrath?
Roosevelt's Beast is a story of the impossible things that become possible when civilization is miles away, when the mind plays tricks on itself, and when old family secrets refuse to stay buried. With his characteristically rich storytelling and a touch of old-fashioned horror, the bestselling and critically acclaimed Louis Bayard turns the story of the well-known Roosevelt-Rondon expedition on its head and dares to ask: Are the beasts among us more frightening than the beasts within?
June 3, 1943
After all these years, his best friend is malaria.
Even on the brink of an Alaska summer, it comes calling: a bone-deep chill one night, a ministry of sweat the next. Calling him back to old battles. That afternoon he spent shivering in the Baghdad desert, say, while hundreds of Turkish camels and men rotted around him. Or those mornings on the Rio da Dúvida when old Dr. Cajazeira, like a miser with a golden hoard, would reach into his jaguar-skin pouch and dole out his drabs of quinine. Jesuit’s powder, they used to call it, and in memory
Author Louis Bayard meets with the "publisher" of his new novel 'Roosevelt's Beast.' Among the "publisher's" concerns is the name of Bayard's main character: Kermit Roosevelt.
“Bayard has written a riveting thriller and psychological study wrapped around historical events and people and gives the reader a real existential puzzle to put together.”— Elizabeth Dickie, Booklist
“For the past decade or so Louis Bayard has been taking the subjects of ‘genre fiction’—from Gothic murder to jungle adventure—and rejuvenating them with all the skills of a literary novelist. Roosevelt’s Beast combines dizzying narrative energy with real psychological subtlety and stylistic elegance. It’s an immensely satisfying book.”—Thomas Mallon, author of Henry and Clara and Watergate: A Novel
"Louis Bayard's gift is to seamlessly merge careful research with the fantastic, the horrible, the sublime, and the universal. Roosevelt’s Beast is an adventure story in the grand style, from a time when the rivers of the Amazon jungle were as unmapped as the depravity of the human heart--had Kipling ever turned his mind to the horror genre beyond short stories, this gripping novel might have been the result."
–Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
"An edge-of-your-seat thriller with all the twists and turns of an unexplored river, Roosevelt’s Beast is also something greater: a triumphant proof that the truths of art can surpass those of history."
–Kermit Roosevelt III, great-great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and author of In the Shadow of the Law