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Kansas City writer Candice Millard tracks quest for the source of 'the most storied river in the world'

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NASA Northern Nile
Jeff Schmaltz
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NASA Visible Earth
At more than 4,100 miles long, the Nile River (the river and its delta appear in green above) is now known to have several sources.

Candice Millard's fourth book took her to England and Africa as she unraveled the expedition to discover the headwaters of the Nile River.

The 1800s saw the greatest period of exploration and discovery in the history of the Earth.

One of the most-sought grails was the source of the river Nile, a quest Kansas City author Candice Millard retraces in her latest book, "River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile."

Millard writes of two British friends, Richard Burton and John Speke, explorers who took a never-tried overland route in their search for the headwaters and barely survived.

The story of Burton and Speke, however, wasn't what ultimately inspired Millard to pursue this story. Instead, it was the extraordinary life of guide Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who, Millard believes, "did more to map his continent than any European who came into it and so I thought, 'This is the story I want to tell.'"

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