True Raiders: The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant

Brad Ricca. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-27360-4
Ricca follows up Olive the Lionheart with another cinematic history of a European aristocrat’s adventures in distant lands. In 1909, Montague “Monty” Parker, an English nobleman and veteran of the Second Boer War, led an expedition to Palestine in search of the Ark of the Covenant. He was hired by businessmen who believed that a Finnish scholar had discovered a cipher in the Old Testament that, when decoded, provided a map to where the Ark was hidden in a network of subterranean tunnels near Jerusalem. Following the scholar’s map and the findings of an earlier British explorer, Charles Warren, Parker and his team of amateur archaeologists excavated Hezekiah’s Tunnel, believed to have been built in the 8th century BCE to provide Jerusalem with water during a siege by the king of Assyria. Ricca details the history of biblical sites including Gihon Spring, also known as the Virgin’s Fountain, where Mary was believed to have washed Jesus’s swaddling clothes, as well as a strike by local laborers, the race to beat a rival expedition funded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and allegations that Parker stole antiquities from the Mosque of Omar. Parker’s rumored romance with Ava Astor, the estranged wife of John Jacob Astor, provides a touch of glamour. Archaeology buffs will be enthralled. Agent: Scott Mendel, Mendel Media Group. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2021
Release date: 09/21/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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