Grann's book uncovers the forgotten story of British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, who set out in 1926 with a group of explorers to find a legendary "City of Z" in the Amazonian rainforest. They disappeared without a trace, and over the next 70 years numerous explorers have tried to retrace their steps, including Grann himself. No one has ever succeeded.
The book, which will be published by Doubleday in February 2009, is an expansion of an article Grann wrote on Fawcett for the New Yorker. (There's an abstract available on the New Yorker site, but one needs access to Lexus-Nexus to obtain the whole thing.) It sounds like a page turner of a story -- rumors of Fawcett being held in captivity, murdered by native tribes, even a theory that the City of Z was a portal to another dimension. The early years of the 20th century were such a hotbed of exploration, too. Everyone wanted to find tombs and lost cities. There haven't been many serious movies set around the heyday of the tomb raiders, so this could be really promising. Or it could completely stray from nonfiction and jump into the realm of the metaphysical -- maybe Pitt is sorry he passed up The Fountain and wants to tackle Mayan spirituality after all?