The Charlemagne Pursuit
By Steve Berry
Ballentine Books 2008
Steve Berry Website
Sometime in the last 20 years, with all the reading I do, I came across the Piri Reis map. This is an enigmatic map dating from 1513 CE and showing coastlines that do not currently exist. BUT those coastlines do exist....under several miles of ice....in the Antarctica.
This has led to speculation that a superior race of people who knew about maths and cartography, once existed on this planet, thousands of years ago. But if that is so, then what happened to them?
In The Charlemagne Pursuit, Cotton Malone is on the quest to find out what happend to his father. Forrest Malone was a US navy captain running submarines. He supposedly died in the North Atlantic when Cotton was 10 years old. Now some new information has arisen that says that the submarine did not go down in the North Atlantic but in the South Atlantic instead. The very far south.
The information also says that the submarine was on a secret mission and that all the crew signed an agreement that if the sub went missing, the navy would NOT go loooking for them in any SAR attempt. WHO in their right mind, would sign such an agreement?
One of the other men aboard this submarine was a German, Dieter Oberhauser who had some proof that there was an ancient civilisation on what is is now the Antarctic continent. This civilisation were wiped out when the magnetic poles reversed which caused many floods and upheavals. The planet of Earth moved to a new angle and the continent that we call Antarctica became frozen. It had previously been located in the temperate zone.
This ancient civilisation left behind a manuscript. Called heavenly writing. People from this ancient civilisation were supposedly helping the humans to become educated and more enlightened (and therefore less war like) as recent as 1100 years ago.
Charlemagne was an enlightened ruler for his era. He gathered many scholars at his castle in Aachen, Germany and tried to teach the people. He did not go to war unles it was absolutely necessary. His biographer Einhard write a biography of Charlemagne staying that the holy ones helped Charlemagne to be more enlightened.
Einhard also hid a book of what he called "heavenly writings" and this book would lead the way to the home of the holy ones. Cotton meets up with Dieter Oberhauser's daughters and together they are pushed into finding the "dictionary" for the heavenly writings - the translations.
Thus Cotton and the sisters follow the trail to the Antarctica and there they find the home of the ancient ones as well as the bodies of their respective fathers.
The book of heavenly writings is from the Voynich manuscript - a book that has been determined to be a medieval "hoax" now. It is now in a rare books library at Yale University. The experts call it a "hoax" only because noone has been able to translate it.
This book actually reminds me of Decipher - another novel I briefly mentioned but never got around to reviewing.
DECIPHER also had mysterious writing that was traced back to the Antarctica and the home of an ancient race of people. We call this civilisation Atlantis. The book also posited a reason for their decline and disappearance.
This was another excellent book from Steve Berry. Now I have read them all - until the next book comes out later this year.