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THE GOLD OF EXODUS by Howard Blum

THE GOLD OF EXODUS

The Discovery of the Real Mt. Sinai

By Howard Blum

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-80918-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 Tom Clancy meets Indiana Jones in this far-fetched but gripping account of archaeology, biblical treasure, and international espionage. Former New York Times journalist Blum (Gangland, 1993; Out There, 1990) has crafted a rousing narrative from the recollections of two American thrill seekers. The pair became convinced in the 1980s that the real Mt. Sinai was not in fact the tourist trap of that name on the Sinai peninsula, but an obscure peak in the Saudi Arabian desert. But their quest to find this mountain, Jabal al Lawz, was thwarted at nearly every turn, first by the difficulty of getting visas, then by ever-present spies, and finally by a frightening discovery: The entire mountain is now the site of a top-secret Saudi military operation. Called Project Falcon, the plan ensures that the Saudi Air Force can deal effectively with an air strike or even mount a missile offensive. Blum muses on the irony that the modern state of Israel could be annihilated from the holy site where God once descended to give the law to Moses. But questions remain about whether Jabal al Lawz is, in fact, the real Sinai. The circumstantial evidence is impressive, including the fact that the site is the correct distance from various landmarks given in the Bible. The Americans report that the top of the mountain is scorched black, as though by fire. But there is no corroboration for these claims, and given Blum's grand assertions that the Saudi military has overrun the area and laid exclusive claim to the ``gold of exodus'' buried there, it is unlikely that future confirmation will be possible. Still, this is a spine-tingling yarn, full of intrigue and adventure. It should translate well to the screen; film rights have already been sold to Castle Rock Entertainment. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Vanity Fair)