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Manco, the Peruvian Chief An Englishman's Adventures in the Country of the Incas   By: (1814-1880)

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Manco, the Peruvian Chief, An Englishman's Adventures in the Country of the Incas, by W.H.G. Kingston.

Here is another Kingston novel about South America. As usual he makes the point that the Spaniards were very cruel, especially in the way they oppressed the Indian tribes.

The family in the story are English, and they get pulled into helping an Inca chieftain, Manco, in his flight from the Spaniards. This seems to mirror several other books by Kingston. There is always a long trek overland, the point of which usually eludes me, but which gives rise to all sorts of difficult situations, with Spaniards, with serpents, with dangerous bridges, with rafts on rivers and so forth. Dated 1853 this must be one of Kingston's earliest books, and certainly one of the earliest with this theme: the style is impeccable. This edition is probably some years later, since there is an inscription in the version I used dated 1900, and it might have been tidied up if it needed it.

It makes a good audiobook, though not a very long one, at 11 hours 30 minutes.

Enjoy reading the book or listening to it.




It was evening. The sun had just set beneath the waters of the Pacific, which could be distinguished in the far distance; and the whole western sky, undimmed by a cloud, was burning with a radiant glow of splendour such as to the eyes of the untutored Peruvians might well appear an emanation from the Deity they worshipped.

I was looking out, with others of my family, from the windows of the country house we inhabited, on the glorious spectacle. We were residing in Peru, that romantic region with which the name of the conqueror Pizarro must be for ever associated the kingdom of the once powerful and enlightened Incas, on the western shore of South America. At the time of which I speak, however, its greatness, its prosperity and happiness, had passed away; it was a mere province of Old Spain, and governed by a viceroy sent from that country, while the race of its ancient sovereigns, though still existing, was humbled and disregarded, and almost unknown.

My parents were English, and England was my native land. My father, Mr Henry Rexton, had been a soldier in his youth; but when he married my mother, who was the daughter of an eminent British merchant, he quitted the army; and my grandfather induced him, by advantageous offers, to take a share in his house of business. The firm traded with Peru; and certain mercantile transactions of importance requiring for a time the superintendence of a partner, my father and mother went out there, taking with them me and a younger sister, their only children then born. Year after year unexpected circumstances occurred which compelled them, much against their wish, to remain in the country; and well do I remember how frequently in our family circle the subject of conversation was the happiness we expected to enjoy on returning home. On first going to Peru, we resided in Lima, the modern capital; but at length the heat of the climate affecting my mother's health, in the hopes of it being restored by a cooler atmosphere, my father engaged a house in the country, at a considerable distance from the city. It was situated among the lower ranges of the lofty Cordilleras, one of those mighty ranges of mountains which stretches from one end to the other of the South American continent, the eastern portion of them being more properly known by the name of the Andes.

Our house stood on a level spot on the summit of a spur of the main chain. To the east behind it rose range above range of mountains, the more distant towering to the sky, and covered with eternal snows. On either side other spurs stretched out far towards the west, forming deep gorges below us; while along the side of the ridge on which the house was situated ran a narrow road, one of the few paths in that neighbourhood, penetrating among the mountains into the regions on the eastern side... Continue reading book >>

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