The novel opens with the mission trip a year before the uprising, and there are already signs that things are not quite what was promised. Borders with armed guards exist everywhere, their guide occasionally grew sullen explaining the situation to them, and the evidence of state police beating people in front of the crew before they even got to Mirador. Their guide gives them all (and by extension us) the background into the place, the poverty of its people, and the simmering anger that the tourists were unaware of. Because of the back and forth with the other tourists, as well as the asides that indicate he knows far more than he is telling them, this doesn’t feel like an info dump but an actual conversation. The jungles are beautifully described, and it is a vivid rendering that makes you feel as though you’re there in the stifling heat or floating down the river along with the characters.