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The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind Paperback – Jun 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publications; American edition (Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517705036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517705032
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 17.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,394 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

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
I am an avid reader of Scientific American--and this is an extraordinarily interesting book. Intelligently written, well-researched, each chapter presents new discoveries and surprises--some of which are astonishing for their implications.
Here, perhaps for the first time in a single reference, is a recounting of all the remarkable achievements of the pyramid builders with ample evidence to document just how fantastic those achievements were. The scientific community's notion of people putting 200 ton blocks of stone in place with precision by sliding them up long ramps of mud is preposterous--now here is the engineering to prove it.
The book argues that the pyramids were built by a much older civilization of great wisdom and practical knowledge.
The book also provides an intelligent account of the importance of eastern (Vedic) astrology in the spiritual journey of mankind, at least as accepted by the ancients.
One caveat: The book is an easy read--an exciting book--and I sent it to five friends, four of whom couldn't get through it. The fifth loved it. You will need to have an interest in the subject manner and scientific detail. This is not a book that replaces scientific reasoning with easily rebuked, flaky theories so popular with the Atlantis/Aliens crowd.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. A. M. Chadwick VINE VOICE on 9 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
I have been to Egypt, the first time was in 1993, and I made my mind up that I'd like to study Egyptology.

Although in my second year of studying Egyptology, this isn't one of my study books that I'm required to read, but I am fascinated by the mystery the Sphinx. I have read most of the books that these two authors have written about Egyptian history. Although they have caused controversy in certain things they have stated it makes me think about how certain the Egyptologists are about certain things they've looked into.

It's a very in-depth read and you'll learn a lot about, it can be a little slow and sometimes you may have to read a chapter more then once for the knowledge to sink in,( I know I did), but it's well worth the money.

Remember to keep an open mind with this book.

It makes an excellent edition to my little Egyptian library, which now stands at nearly 1000 books on this subject. :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely delightful and fascinating synthesis of geological,astonomical and archaelogical evidence. It is a bold attempt to debunk the conventional and traditional view that the structures on the Giza plateau are only the funerary tombs of dead kings. By publishing the book in popular motif, Hancock and Bauval have succeeded in breaking through the arrogance and stuffiness of heavy structured academic form and argument and this makes the book entertaining and wonderful to read. I appaud the authors in not reaching too far into the speculative and sticking to the evidence through a multi-discilinary synthesis. I'm looking forward to Hancock's new book on his on-going quest for lost civilisations. The two authors make a wonderful team.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jun. 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book, as so many of the reviews are saying. But I believe the authors have missed the Zep Tepi, or First Time, by 25,920 years--that this occured in the *previous* age of Leo. The software used to re-create the
night sky of 10,500 BC can only go back in time
30,000 years, we are told. When the length of the dynasties of the Shemsu Hor (13,420 years), the Neteru (23,200 years) are added to the generally accepted beginning of the first
dynasty (3,000 BC), that takes us back to 39,620 BC.
The previous Age of Leo was from 36,880 to
34,720 BC. So this
"First Time" meshes very nicely with the total dynastic years
mentioned in the Pyramid Texts.

I'd sure like to have a look at that night sky of
36,420 BC!

David Lamond (
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Format: Paperback
Every schoolchild is familiar with the pyramids of Egypt and their enigmatic guardian, the Great Sphinx. Though few of us are likely to have the opportunity to visit these monuments first-hand, they constitute part of mankinds' acknowledged cultural heritage, whether the situs of that culture be Cairo or Cambodia or Cleveland. Since antiquity, men have wondered at the provenance, and purpose, of these marvelous structures. Robert Bauval, whose 1994 "Orion Mystery" (co-written with Adrian Gilbert)presaged the present work, has teamed-up with the indefatigable Graham Hancock to produce a new, intriguing hypothesis regarding the origin of the sphinx and pyramids. While there is no shortage of material, dating back though the centuries, purporting to explain the function of these monuments, only in the past generation has computer technology rendered it possible to definitively establish that the sphinx and pyramids represent deliberate, calculated efforts to reproduce, at Giza, ancient sideral phenomena.

According to Bauval and Hancock, geologic evidence alone indicates that the sphinx itself is vastly older than is generally supposed. While the pyramids themselves may indeed date from the "pyramid age" generally assigned by Egyptologists, astroarchaeology provides compelling evidence that their spacial arrangement represents a model of the heavens as it existed in prehistoric times: 8,000 years before the "pyramid age." According to the authors, knowledge of the ancient skies was conveyed to the actual pyramid builders, through generations, via an enlightened brotherhood of initiates. Evidence of this primordial brotherhood abounds, according to the authors, in the so-called "Pyramid Texts" and other contemporary sources.
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