At first sight, this is a visually stunning book. On closer examination, however, it soon becomes a great disappointment. In a product which attempts to be all things to all divers, we find the following pages devoted to each country covered; Aqaba 18, Eilat 10, Egypt 128, Eritrea 10, Djibouti 10, Yemen 8 and finally 18 pages on Saudi Arabia added as though they were an afterthought. These are followed by a limited attempt at marine life identification, courses in underwater photography and underwater videography, lessons in buoyancy control (which have no place here!) and finally a section on surface attractions such as the Valley of the Kings, the Sphinx and so forth. In short, a little bit of everything and nothing of substance.
The entire product is well padded-out with images of a reasonable standard - most of which are fish. Some are stunning, others blurred and many are disappointing. The double spread picture of a Lionfish across pages 98/99, for example, is spoiled by the book's central crease obliterating most of the subject.
The coverage of those shipwrecks which are included is basic and almost amounts to the vessel's name and "sank in whatever year." Much of the artwork is hopelessly inaccurate. The actual wrecks of the Carnatic, Chrisoula K and Kimon M (to name but three) are very different from the images portrayed and the overturned decking on the Thistlegorm is described as a "sheet metal roof" - something which reveals the authors' overall lack of knowledge of ships. Whilst the artwork itself is of the lowest quality, each shipwreck is portrayed in dark grey with the adjacent seabed being light grey. Not the colours I have ever encountered and something which leaves each wreck looking very dark and foreboding instead of welcoming and exciting. Elsewhere, the Numidia and Aïda are shown right alongside each other, wrecks which are "out-of-bounds" to divers are promoted with false information and the death toll of the Salem Express is unforgivably exaggerated by almost another 1,000. I was looking forward to seeing what shipwrecks the authors had covered outside Egypt. Incredibly there were hardly any at all. After more than 60 years on her side, the Umbria is suddenly upright, but that is almost all.
Overall, the text relating to countries other than Egypt, is as brief as possible and, almost exclusively padded out with photographs of fish which could have been taken anywhere in the Red Sea. This gives the clear impression that neither author bothered to venture very far from Egypt at all. With 128 pages devoted to Egypt and only 74 to the remaining 6 countries combined, I was left with the clear impression that this book was cobbled together from existing published material and that neither author had actually visited most of the countries described.
Finally, when we look at a map, we automatically expect to find "North" at the top of the page. In this book, however, the map of the Red Sea reproduced across pages 10/11 has been rotated left through 90 degrees to show the Gulf of Suez as being in the southwest and Aden in the northeast. Just about as muddled as the entire product.
With the very minimum of useful information interspersed with several instances of full page advertisements (including a two page spread about a dive bag!), some might describe this product as not so much a book, more an extended diving magazine.