9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Interesting...but mixes and matches facts and dates,
This review is from: In Search of King Solomon's Mines (Paperback)
I bought this book to give me a taste of Ethiopia before going out to visit some friends.
Now I am not doubting for a minute that the author actually went there and that most of the characters are based on fact. But in other places, Shah seems to mix and match dates to enhance his story a bit.
Take the very first chapter as an example, where Shah is in Jerusalem to buy the map that leads him on the search King Solomon's mines. He talks about being in the Church of the Holy Sepulchure and bullets ricocheting off the walls while he was in the compound talking to Russian tourists. Knowing a little bit about the Middle East I was a bit suspicious as I had not heard of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians around the church, and an Internet search didn't throw up any evidence of it.
Once he is in Ethiopia there are a few more eye brow raising sections. For example he talks about attempts to bury the late emperor Haile Selassie...except that Selassie was buried in 2000 and the book was almost certainly written afterwards.
Shah captures the flavour of Ethiopia and Ethiopian culture well, but after coming across the examples above, I did start to doubt some of the other things he talked about. For instance, did he really rent the ex Emperor's jeep? And the story of the bus crash involving the Dutch tourists outside the town of Lalibela seemed a bit extreme.
Call me old fashioned, but I do prefer travelogues to be about things that the author actually experienced, without the need for it to be spiced up.