Stephen Biesty’s well-known dazzling reconstructions are here subsumed into an all-singing, all-dancing DK production. The premise of the book is a letter to the author from his old history teacher inviting him on a quest to find an ancient lost city. Biesty is to receive a series of postcards, each one sending him off to an exotic building to make a drawing. But it’s not that simple. The destinations are shrouded in riddles, word play and puzzles and the reader is invited to join in the quest. We travel to Angkor Wat, Sydney Opera House, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Temple of the Inscriptions in Mexico and other architectural wonders on our journey to the Lost City.
Nothing is spared on the production here, a faux faded leather cover with pastiche travel stickers, a chunky wallet full of riddle cards, stickers, a make-it-yourself tunnel-viewer and a line drawing to colour in. Biesty’s drawings are as brilliant as ever but they struggle to compete in the chaotic aesthetic jumble of photographs, film posters, newspaper cuttings and less distinguished artworks.