I thought I had found one in David Gibbins. I began reading his book, Crusader Gold, and asked myself what was there not to like. You had an archeologist on the search for a breakthrough in historical artifacts. He is noble, not just after the money. He is going to maintain his integrity at all costs. There is a hint of action from previous adventures telling me there are books I had missed that I could look for. Gibbins writes well and have a good cast of characters.
As I read, though, the historical facts didn’t seem to quite add up. He had notes in the back explaining the basis for his conjectures and what was true as opposed to imagination. In a well written book you can learn a lot of history. It is understood that there will be creativity. That I don’t have any trouble with. But the more I read the more trouble I had with his view of history.
Then I came across the following bit of dialogue. See if you can pick out what my problem was.
“Sounds like the Pilgrim fathers in America, at Jamestown,” Jack said. “Hemmed in by hostile natives, plagued by starvation and disease.” page 251.Do you see it? I hate to point out to the professionals but the Pilgrims were not at Jamestown, they were in Plymouth. They also got along very well with the locals. It could have just been a slip of the type. It happens. What is troubling that in the editing and proofreading no single person knew enough history to pick this out.
Then at the end he throughly throws away any credibility. In the final scene of the book he had this archeologist casting a priceless, historic relic into the ocean to make the spirit of an ancient king rest in peace. No real archeologist would do such a thing.
I don’t think I will be looking for more titles by Gibbin. I have enough confusion in my sense of history, I don’t need someone adding to it.
Gibbins, David. Crusader Gold. New York: Bantam Dell, 2008.
homo unius libri