Chasing the Thrill

Written by Daniel Barbarisi

From Knopf:

“Daniel Barbarisi plunges into an adventure from another era when he goes in search of buried treasure, guided only by a cryptic poem, a mischievous art collector, and the footsteps another pursuer who died on the quest… Every page draws you deeper into this no-man’s-land where fortune—or tragedy—awaits.” —Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

When Forrest Fenn was given a fatal cancer diagnosis, he came up with a bold plan: He would hide a chest full of jewels and gold in the wilderness, and publish a poem that would serve as a map leading to the treasure’s secret location. But he didn’t die, and after hiding the treasure in 2010, Fenn instead presided over a decade-long gold rush that saw many thousands of treasure hunters scrambling across the Rocky Mountains in pursuit of his fortune.

Daniel Barbarisi first learned of Fenn’s hunt in 2017, when a friend became consumed with decoding the poem and convinced Barbarisi, a reporter, to document his search. What began as an attempt to capture the inner workings of Fenn’s hunt quickly turned into a personal quest that led Barbarisi down a reckless and potentially dangerous path, one that found him embroiled in searcher conspiracies and matching wits with Fenn himself. Over the course of four chaotic years, several searchers would die, endless controversies would erupt, and one hunter would ultimately find the chest.

But the mystery didn’t end there.

Full of intrigue, danger, and break-neck action, Chasing the Thrill is a riveting tale of desire, obsession, and unbridled adventure.

“This tale of the most consuming treasure hunt in modern American history, and of the man who created it, is utterly captivating and thoroughly entertaining. Daniel Barbarisi gives the reader a satisfying sense of how deeply being part of a treasure hunt—beginning with believing that there is a treasure to hunt—summons the human spirit back to a faith most adults lost in childhood. At the same time, he reminds us just how close that faith is to madness.”
—Randall Sullivan, author of The Curse of Oak Island

“Dan Barbarisi has done a startling bit of metaphysical gymnastics here. This is a story that pretends to be about one group of people looking for one small hidden box of treasure when in actuality it’s about every human being who has ever yearned, obsessed, believed, wanted or desired. It is at its core a profile of hope itself, which makes it, oddly enough, a book about the meaning of life.”
—Wright Thompson, author of Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last

“Daniel Barbarisi’s Chasing the Thrill is a fast-paced testament to the extraordinary lengths some go for glory and adventure alike. In Barbarisi’s hands, you feel you are really hunting for treasure—hiking treacherous landscapes, decoding lines, moving deeper into the unknown—and come to understand how modern myths are born and take on a life of their own. This is a one-of-a-kind, brilliantly reported story about risking one’s life and livelihood to chase a dream, and the ways destiny and desire are two sides of the same golden coin.”
—Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Feather Thief

“Captivating . . . Shot through with dramatic plot twists, colorful personalities, and insights into the nature of obsession, this rollicking account will appeal to fans of The Orchid Thief and Born to Run.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred

“Mesmerizing . . . Barbarisi’s narrative splendidly captures the timeless allure of buried treasure. Armchair adventurers will be riveted right up to the suspenseful conclusion.”

“An engaging adventure story . . . A well-reported insider’s study on the engrossing and alarming fervor a search can inspire.”