At The Mercy of the River

Even in this age of extreme sports and made-for-TV survival games, there still exist places on earth where the most intrepid among us can plunge into truly unknown territory.

The acclaimed adventure writer Peter Stark had waited all his life for just such an opportunity. But when he was invited to Africa to join a small expedition kayaking down Mozambique’s Lugenda River, he balked. The 750-kilometer rivercourse was largely uncharted–dotted with rapids, waterfalls, and home to deadly crocodiles and hippos; two of his four travel companions were not skilled kayakers; and he had a family to think of, (not to mention that at forty-eight, he himself was feeling a bit old for the life untamed).

Suppressing inner doubts and driven by that most human of urges–to see what lies beyond the next bend–Stark signed on for the adventure of a lifetime.


“Perfect for history-minded armchair adventurers” — Publishers Weekly

Honorable Mention, Outdoor Literature category, at the National Outdoor Book Awards, 2005.

“At the Mercy of the River easily could have been standard outdoor fare, a simple chronicle of descending an African river.  But master story teller Peter Stark serves up something far more satisfying: an inward journey.  The outward journey is trip down Mozambique’s Lugenda River, but the river turns out to be more difficult than anyone had imagined, and the party finds themselves pushed to the limits.  Using his descriptive prowess, Stark captures the heart-thumping anxiety, the building tension between party members, and his own dark uncertainties.”