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The Mars Mystery: A Warning from History That Could Save Life on Earth Paperback – 7 Jan 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (7 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140271759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140271751
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 794,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I was East Africa correspondent of The Economist, writing about wars, politics, economics and aid programmes, I had no idea where fate was going to lead me or what strange seas of thought I would find myself sailing on. But in 1983 I made my first visit to Axum in northern Ethiopia, then in the midst of a war zone, and found myself in the presence of an ancient monk outside a little chapel in the grounds of the cathedral of Saint Mary of Zion. The monk told me that the chapel was the sanctuary of the Ark of the Covenant and that he was the guardian of the Ark, the most sacred relic of the Bible, supposedly lost since Old Testament times. What he said seemed ludicrous but for some reason it intrigued me. I began to look into the Ethiopian claim and found much surprising and neglected evidence that supported it, not least the faint traces of a mission to Ethiopia undertaken by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century. I kept adding to that dossier of evidence while also continuing to pursue my current affairs interests (including Lords of Poverty, my controversial book about foreign aid, published in 1989), and finally, in 1992, I published The Sign and the Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, my first full-fledged investigation of a historical mystery.

As well as to Ethiopia and to Israel, my research for The Sign and the Seal had taken me to Egypt and opened my eyes to the incredible enigma of the Great Pyramid of Giza, while the "technological" aspects of the Ark (shooting out bolts of fire, striking people dead, etc) had alerted me to the existence of out of place technologies in antiquity. The stage was now set for my next project - a worldwide investigation into the possibility of a lost, prehistoric civilisation that resulted, in 1995, in the publication of Fingerprints of the Gods, undoubtedly my best known book. Keeper of Genesis (co-authored with Robert Bauval) followed in 1996, looking specifically into the mysteries of the Great Sphinx of Giza, and then in 1998 Heaven's Mirror, photographed by my wife Santha Faiia, which shows why many ancient sites in all parts of the globe replicate the patterns of constellations on the ground and are aligned to important celestial events such as the rising points of the sun on the equinoxes and the solstices. In 2002, I published Underworld, the result of five years of scuba diving across all the world's oceans to find ancient ruins submerged by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age.

After Underworld, I decided to step away from lost civilisation mysteries for a while and my next non-fiction book, Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, published in 2005, focussed on shamanism, altered states of consciousness and the astonishing universal themes that appear in rock and cave art from deepest antiquity right through to the paintings done by shamans in the Amazon rainforest today.

From my years as a journalist I've always distrusted armchair theorising and believed I have a responsibility to seek out direct personal, "boots on the ground" experience of what I'm writing about. That was why I did five years of often difficult and dangerous scuba diving for Underworld. And it's also why, as part of my research for Supernatural I travelled to the Amazon to drink the visionary brew Ayahuasca with shamans there. As well as better equipping me to write Supernatural, my experiences in the Amazon changed my life and brought out a new side of my own creativity. I've continued working with Ayahuasca ever since and in 2006, during a series of sessions in Brazil, in a ceremonial space overlooked by images of a blue goddess, my visions gave me the basic characters, dilemmas and plot of the book that would become my first novel, Entangled, published in 2010. Entangled tells the story of two young women, one living 24,000 years ago in the Stone Age, and the other in modern Los Angeles, who are brought together by a supernatural being to do battle with a demon who travels through time.

Since the publication of Entangled I have also written the first two volumes of a series of three epic novels about the Spanish conquest of Mexico - the War God trilogy. The first volume, War God: Nights of the Witch, was published in May 2013, and the second volume, War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent, is published in October 2014. The third volume, War God: Apocalypse, is already more than half written and will be published in 2016 but in the meantime I am putting the finishing touches to a new non-fiction book, Magicians of the Gods, which will be published in late 2015. Magicians is the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, and presents all the new evidence that has emerged since 1995 for a great lost civilisation of prehistoric antiquity and for the global cataclysm that destroyed that civilisation almost 13,000 years ago - a cataclysm on such a scale that it forced mankind, as Plato put it, "to begin again like children with no memory of what went before."

My ideas on prehistory and on the mysterious nature of reality have made me something of a controversial figure. In 1999, for example BBC Horizon made a documentary ("Atlantis Reborn") attacking my position on the lost civilisation. But part of that documentary was found by the UK's Broadcasting Standards Commission to be unfair - the first time ever that the flagship Horizon series had been judged guilty of unfairness. The BBC took the problem seriously enough to put out a revised re-edited version of the programme a year later. More recently, in 2013, my TED talk "The War on Consciousness" was deleted from the TED Youtube channel on grounds that TED itself later admitted to be spurious by striking out every one of the objections it had originally raised to my talk. TED, however, refused to restore the talk to its Youtube channel resulting in dozens of pirate uploads all over the internet that have now registered well over a million views.

I make mistakes like everyone else, but ever since my time with The Economist I've felt it is important to strive for rigour and accuracy, to check facts, to set out my sources clearly and openly for all to see and to admit my mistakes when I make them. As I continue to explore extraordinary ideas in my works of non-fiction, and in my novels, I'll also continue to do that.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Graham Hancock's books are almost guaranteed to be both controversial and entertaining. I loved Fingerprints of the Gods & couldn't tear myself away from Keeper of Genesis, however, I must admit that the Mars mystery was a big disappointment in terms of a believeable theory. Graham Hancock makes several valid points regarding the dangers of asteroid or coment impact but his suggestion that Mars was home to an intelligent civilisation wiped out by a rogue comet is very doubtful to say the least. On the other hand I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy reading this - if only for entertainment value. As someone once said "It's important to keep an open mind..but not so open that all your brains fall out".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book has the names of three people on the cover, and would appear to have been written separately by all three and then shuffled together with no particular care.
The thrust of the book is in two parts, with an underlying subtext. The first part of the book is a "review" (biased from the outset) of the Cydonia artefacts. While the authors are at pains later in the book to stress they are not advocating the artefacts are of artificial origin, their writing points entirely in the opposite direction, citing government cover-ups, deliberate sabotaging of multi-million dollar missions to Mars (Mars Observer) and mounting none-to subtle character attacks on the likes of Daniel Goldin, Michael Malin of Malin Space Systems (operaters of the Mars Observer and now the Mars Global Surveyor) and even Carl Sagan. While in later chapters the authors half-heartedly withdraw some of their earlier accusations (particularly with reference to Dr. Malin), the damage has already been done, and the status and impartially of such individuals as Dr. Malin have been suitably undermined.
This is perhaps the clearest indication of what might have been strongly differing viewpoints among the authors - one perhaps strongly in favour of the Cydonia artefacts being of intelligent origin, another not being so convinced and somewhat more open-minded.
The second thrust of the book is a discussion of planet-impacting comets and asteroids, and here the book hits more of an even stride - even if the authors prefer to limit their own thinking and merely report the thoughts, conjectures and concerns of others. Where the authors do inject their own thoughts on the matter, it is largely to whitter on about Cydonia and mystical geometry once more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
This particular book starts off with a theory and then repeats it ad-infinitum. As with most of Hancocks theories, this book centres on the mathematical relationships between certain key objects. Unfortunately, as with all Hancock's theories, they all depend on a highly selective view of which objects to include. This does not stop Hancocks work being a thoroughly entertaining read. Just don't get too carried away with it.
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By A Customer on 22 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
A major disappointment from one of the most articulate authors on the popular non-fiction market. Although Mr Hancock did not write the entire book as it is indicated, I think he would have been better served to leave his name off of this one. The book is disjointed and essentially in two parts - the first dealing with the martian structures (apparently artificial) and the other with the possiblity of a catastrophic meteoric event in earth's future. The sub-title may be a tad ambitious and so it must, because the book is disappointing. Mr Hancock and the others have borrowed substantial information from other sources and combined them into a poorly presented and poorly constructed thesis. I think he should leave his speculation to this world rather than other-worldly dreams of pyramids on other planets. His other books - Fingerprints and Keepers are triumphant. This book is flagrantly frail,flacid and fails at the finish.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Yes, undoubtedly there are a few things in nature which makes one wonder. Did life actually existed in Mars before it was 'sterilised' by the astronomical catastrophe? Or else how would one explain the three dimensional 'face' in Cydonia?
Is it possible that the same civilisation which made that planetary beacon on Mars is responsible for the other mathematical oddities on Earth which cannot be explained by even present day science?
Or is there actually a 'Keeper' out there dropping hints to the last of the sentient beings in this Solar System before the ultimate wipeout happens....?
Or perhaps for the more cynical readers, correlations and coincidental occurrence of unnatural mathematical concepts like pi, phi, square roots of prime numbers are just a big joke from Mother Nature? (I don't think so)
Read and find out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book grabs you from the moment you pick it up. It discusses Cydonia, the face and other features of the Martian surface. Using mathematical equations and theory, the authors give rational similarities between Mars and Earth. If life has ever existed on our red neighbour then this book, to me, has the most credible reasons for its extinction.
With plates dipicting actual, computer generated and illustrated pictures, even those starting out on researching the Mars mystery will find this a valuable addition to their studies
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