Paradise of the Damned

The True Story of an Obsessive Quest for El Dorado, the Legendary City of Gold

Coming Soon


By Keith Thomson

Formats and Prices




$41.00 CAD

From the bestselling author of Born to Be Hanged comes a transporting account of the obsessive quest to find El Dorado, set against the backdrop of Elizabethan England's political intrigues and the rival Spanish conquistadors vying for El Dorado’s treasure.

As early as 1530, rumors of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold, beckoned to European colonizers. Whether there was any truth to the story remained to be seen, but the allure of wealth alone was enough to ensnare dozens of would-be heroes and glory-hungry hopefuls. Among them was Sir Walter Raleigh: ambitious courtier, confidant to Queen Elizabeth, and, before long, El Dorado fanatic.

Throughout his tenuous rise to prominence and fall from grace, the unwavering siren song of El Dorado hypnotized Raleigh. The glittering promise of its wealth appeared to be the solution to all Raleigh’s troubles, from his long imprisonment in the Tower of London to his multitude of cutthroat enemies.

Captivating, witty, and lush with historical detail, Keith Thomson’s Paradise of the Damned charts Raleigh’s quixotic search for El Dorado—as well as the many other doomed voyages that preceded and accompanied it.


  • Praise for Born to Be Hanged:
  • "Thomson does a fine job mining the historical record for all this swash and buckle . . . A larger-than-life tale . . . It reads, quite literally, like a pirate novel."
    New York Times Book Review
  • “Unleashes an epic history of a band of ‘gentlemen pirates.’”
    Washington Post
  • “This swashbuckling history recounts a two-yearlong pirate raid in the 17th century along the Pacific coastline, with over 300 dastardly buccaneers in search of Spanish gold.”
    USA Today
  • “Thomson is an engaging and enthusiastic writer.”
    The Economist

On Sale
May 21, 2024
Page Count
400 pages

Keith Thomson

About the Author

Keith Thomson is the author of the nonfiction book Born to Be Hanged, as well as several novels, including Pirates of Pensacola and the New York Times bestseller Once a Spy. The former Columbia history major also writes nonfiction for the New York Times, Garden & Gun, and the Huffington Post on a range of topics, including national security and piracy. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Learn more about this author