Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Serpent - Book Review

by Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos
Pocket Books 1999

This is an earlier Kurt Austin book I had not yet read, so I decide it was time to read it. This book is about a Hispanic group trying to prevent pre-Columbian artifacts from being discovered so that Christopher Columbus is still the official discoverer of the new world.

It is well known that the Vikings reached North America. There were some other early travellers to the new world as well, namely...
- the Venetians with their Zeno map
- St Brendan from Ireland
- and maybe the chinese

In archaeology and anthropology, diffusion is the spread of ideas, objects, or cultural traits from one culture or society to another, rather than their independent invention. For example, a diffusionist school of thought once held that Egypt was the source of metallurgy and megalithic building, whereas it is now accepted that these technologies arose independently in different areas. Farlex Encyclopedia

So now if any historian or archaeologst does believe the diffusion theory, they are villified as heretics and untrustworthy to be published. This is very similar to how creationists and scientists who agree with intelligence design are called crazy and heretical.

Have you ever heard of or seen images of Olmec stones? Archaeologists have always been mystified as to why these faces show distinctly African features. There is still no official answer.

One theory advocated, was that there was contact or trade between Africa and the Americas. But archaeologists no longer subscribe to this theory.

Just looking at this photo is evidence. It has distinctly African features, and yet this was found in Central America. So it supports the theory that there was contact between the Olmecs and the Africans. Archaeologists are very resistant to this idea.

Anyway, back to the book. When Nina Kirov, an American archaeologist finds an Olmec face statue in Western Sahara, this is big news. It definitely proves that there was contact between Mexico and Africa. Within hours of her discovery, Nina's archaeological team are murdered and she is on the run.

Her only escape is the NUMA ship anchored off shore. Even as she swims, the assassins are on a hovercraft still attempting to kill her. Kurt and Joe jump in to fight off the attackers and save Nina. These assassins are very determined. Later that night they climb abord the NUMA ship and once again attempt to kill Nina. These men are successfully driven off but not without some damage to the ship.

Together Kurt, Joe and Nina try to discover why archaeological teams are disappearing and what they have in common. It turns out that all the missing teams had discovered a pre-columbian artifact in a place where it should NOT have been.

Eventually Nina and Kurt end up in Guatemala, where they stumble over an artifact smuggling ring. They also find the last temple of the Mayans and the lost tomb of Christopher Columbus.

An excellent novel for those who are like the Mayans and pre Columbian civilizations.

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