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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
No Mercy is a wild, funny and brilliantly written travelogue recounting Redmond O’Hanlon’s daring 1996 jungle trek into the People’s Republic of Congo in a speculative search for a legendary dinosaur rumored to have survived in a remote lake, accompanied by a homesick academic American friend and several womanizing Congolese guides. Together, they hilariously grumble and suffer as they face miles of travel through unmapped jungles, repulsive diseases, unpredictable bands of roving soldiers, poor village tribes, all-powerful-sorcerers, armies of flesh-eating ants, and the challenge of caring for a baby gorilla. These aren’t normal everyday explorers - O'Hanlon's group was woefully unprepared, their interests primarily focus on the rich flora and fauna of the Congo and on the hope to meet pygmies, and they don’t seem especially interested in the history and culture in which they are immersed. With that said, his insights and empathy on African life are still very powerful, perhaps even more naturally and authentically than if that were the main goal.
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OTHER A5 RECOMMENDED TRAVEL BOOKS
No Mercy is the third of such journeys for O'Hanlon to remote wild places, following both Into the Heart of Borneo (1984) and In Trouble Again (1988), an adventure to the bug ridden rain forest of the Amazon. Having survived, his next adventure, Trawler, was closer to home but no less extreme, a humorous 2003 tour with a commercial fishing crew in the North Atlantic. Learn more about Redmond O'Hanlon by clicking here.
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GREAT QUOTES FROM NO MERCY: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF THE CONGO
“Mr. Redmond, this is a fetish for your protection," he said, and gave it to me. (It fitted into my palm; it felt warm - perhaps there was another fire in the inner room; a ruff of blue cloth protruded from its bound neck; and its thick brown fur was rubbed smooth in places, revealing white skin.) "There are no special conditions, no food conditions attached to the use of that fetish," he said, refilling Marcellin's mug. "You may eat what you wish. But it is forbidden to cross water too often. That fetish, which you must never open, the fetish which you now hold in your hand, Mr. Redmond, it contains the finger of a child. The spirit of this child will protect you. The spirit will guard you from thoughts that are old and sad. The spirit will free you from disease. The fetish itself is secret. Your very closest male friends, the men who hunt with you - they may glance at it. Your wife may touch it. But if she washes her private parts with it - it will lose its power at once."
MAP - THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO