With Blue Sky Development company advertising heavily that they have ‘found’ Atlantis, to see a book on the subject on the Big C Extra Bookazine shelves was too great a temptation to pass up.  The Lost Empire of Atlantis has been written by Gavin Menzies (ISBN 987-0-857-82006-8, Orion Books 2011).  Despite the fact that the book’s Atlantis and that of the developers are obviously not the same, I am quite willing to accept a spotter’s fee following their next sale. ;-))

The book is divided into six smaller “books”, each with several chapters.  They cover the Minoan civilization, Voyages to the near East, Journeys West, Examining the heavens, the reaches of the empire and the Legacy.

Author Menzies describes in great detail their civilization, and it comes as a shock to find the Minoans had hot and cold running water, flush toilets, fountains and bath tubs.  They were also skilled traders and more importantly skilled seafarers, able to navigate through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic to the USA (waiting to be “discovered” by Christopher Columbus) and up through to Cornwall and Wales in the UK to bring back copper and tin.  They even sailed to Africa, and that was 4,000 years before Vasco da Gamma and the ‘Age of Discovery’.  How long have we been fooling ourselves?

To be able to sail around the world, the Minoans needed to be able to navigate expertly, and this they did with the aid of stone circles, such as the one at Stonehenge, but there are many more, including one in Egypt, as the Egyptians were also involved in sea trade.  To have the accuracy necessary for oceanic routes, they must have understood the coordinates in the night sky.  That is at 4,800 BC.  And what about Stonehenge which we were always told were used in religious practices by the druids?  Really?  That is not what Gavin Menzies found.

The author has stopped this becoming a dry and dreary dredge through the Bronze Age by writing in a down to earth conversational style.  Whilst he quotes freely from world experts in the various fields covered, you also get to know what he had for breakfast that morning.

He has proved his postulation, to my satisfaction at least, that the Minoans traversed the globe and even visited America 1,500 years BC.  Christopher Columbus may have “sailed the ocean blue in 14 hundred and 92”, but he was just a little late in his discovery.  The Minoans had been bringing back tobacco leaves (and a tobacco beetle or two) and copper from America 3,000 years before!

So were the Minoans and Atlantis one and the same?  Did a tsunami wipe out the Minoans?  Was the “sinking” of Atlantis allegorical?  Or did it never exist?

At the RRP of 685 THB, this is an absolutely fascinating, and easily read book.  Plenty of references after each major chapter, two sets of color plates and an excellent index.  A resource book, but written like a novel.  If you are at all interested in the history of the world, get this book.  You will be better informed afterwards.