From Publishers Weekly
In this fast-paced tale that is part detective story, part travelogue and adventure story, historian Kingsley, editor of the archeology journal Minerva,
hunts for one of the most sought after ancient treasures: a golden candelabrum, a pair of silver trumpets and the jewel-covered Table of Divine Presence carried away from the Temple in Jerusalem by Vespasian in A.D. 70. Many believe that these pieces, long since disappeared, lie buried beneath the Temple Mount, while others are convinced that they are buried under the Vatican. Relying on the ancient historians Josephus and Procopius, Kingsley traces the trail of the treasure as best he can. Many in modern times have tried and failed to find the treasure, including John Allegro, the Dead Sea Scrolls expert, who used the now-famous Copper Scroll as his guide in the caves at Qumran. At the end of his travels, Kingsley visits the monastery of Saint Theodosius in the Judean wilderness, where he believes Byzantine patriarch Modestus may have hidden the treasures in the seventh century after carrying them away from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protect them from Muslim invaders. Although we will likely never find the Temple treasure, Kingsley's bracing tale of religious intrigue grips the imagination. 16 pages of b&w photos. (June 12)
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Indiana Jones would tip his hat to Kingsley, an intrepid archaeologist who has spent 15 years pursuing a very real treasure that surpasses Hollywood's fantasies. Estimated at 50 tons of gold, the treasure of Herod's Temple fell into Roman hands when Vespasian besieged Jerusalem two millennia ago. Roman leaders lavished much of their temple plunder on the Colosseum and other projects. But Kingsley uncovers exciting evidence that a still sizable amount of the sacred troveincluding the great golden candelabrum and the Table of Divine Presenceremained intact. Worth at least $1 billion today, this hoard passed through turbulent centuries under the vigilant care of powerful guardians who protected it by repeatedly moving it. It will probably disappoint some readers that, in the end, Kingsley cannot breach the suspiciously locked gates of those he identifies as the treasure's current keepers. (Only a killjoy would reveal the identity and location of these keepers.) But many readers will find that the thrill of tracing long-buried clues to those tantalizing locked gates is itself a great prize. Christensen, Bryce