In Search of King Solomon's Mines

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9781559706414: In Search of King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon, the Bible's wisest king, also possessed extraordinary wealth. He built a temple at Jerusalem that was said to be more fabulous than any other landmark in the ancient world, heavily adorned with gold from Ophir. The precise location of this legendary land has been one of history's great unsolved mysteries. Long before Rider Haggard's classic adventure novel King Solomon's Mines produced a fresh outbreak of gold fever, explorers, scientists and theologians had scoured the world for the source of the king's astonishing wealth. Tahir Shah takes up the quest, using as his leads a mixture of texts including the Septuagint, the earliest form of the Bible, as well as geological, geographical and folkloric sources. Time and again the evidence points towards Ethiopia, the ancient kingdom in the horn of Africa whose imperial family claims descent from Menelik, the son born to Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Tahir Shah's trail takes him to a remote cliff-face monastery where the monks pull visitors up on a leather rope, to the ruined castles of Gondar, and to the churches of Lalibela, hewn from solid rock.In the south, he discovers an enormous illegal gold mine where thousands of men, women and children dig with their hands. But the hardest leg of the journey is to the accursed mountain of Tullu Wallel, where legend says there lies an ancient shaft, once the entrance of King Solomon's mines.

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About the Author:

Tahir Shah was born into a respected Afghan family and educated in England. He has lived in Japan, India and the United States and East Africa, and his books include 'Sorcerer's Apprentice', 'Trail of Feathers' and 'Beyond the Devil's Teeth'. He lives in London with his wife and young daughter.

From Publishers Weekly:

Travel writer Shah (Sorcerer's Apprentice; Trail of Feathers) paid 600 shekels in a Jerusalem souk for a dubious map of the route to King Solomon's mines; he admits, "I have an insatiable appetite for questionable souvenirs." The London-based writer is also fond of danger: "As soon as there's a bomb, an earthquake, a tidal wave or a riot, I call the travel agent and book cut-price seats." But the ultimate thrill is a challenging mission, and this time, it's finding the biblical land of Ophir, legendary source of the gold for King Solomon's Temple and perhaps of the Queen of Sheba's riches as well. History and geography point to Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa, Shah hires a vocally Christian taxi driver who becomes his guide, and the two set out on the quest. They wander rural Ethiopia, sleeping in brothels, slipping into illegal mines, walking through deserts in camel-led caravans and finally, riding mules to the alleged source of Solomon's gold. Along the way, Shah learns loads of useful things: prostitutes require customers to wash themselves with Coca Cola to avoid AIDS; the hyena-man of Harar feeds the hyenas nightly to keep them from carrying off the village children; gold miners fear disembowelment by thieves trying to extract the nuggets they've swallowed on the job. Does Shah get the gold in the end? Well... he's more Don Quixote than Indiana Jones. Shah is so entertaining, most readers won't realize that while walking on the wild side, they've also just done a quick course in Ethiopian history. 16 pages of b&w photos, one map.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Shah, Tahir
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