Interview: Laila Lalami, Author Of 'The Moor's Account' : NPR: In the spring of 1528, a crew of 600 Spanish and Portuguese soldiers landed on the Gulf Coast of the United States, hoping to find gold. The expedition was an utter disaster; only four members survived.
Within a year, nearly all of the men involved in the Narvaez Expedition had succumbed to disease, starvation, drowning or violent death in fights with indigenous people.
The survivors made their way across the continent, living with the natives, until finally they reached the Spanish settlements on the western coast of Mexico.
That disastrous expedition is the inspiration for a new novel by the Moroccan-American writer Laila Lalami. The book, a fictional memoir called The Moor's Account, is told from the perspective of the expedition's most mysterious survivor: a Moroccan slave called Estebanico.