A companion volume to the DIY treasure-hunting History Channel series.
Is there anyone who doesn’t like a good yarn of hidden treasure and long-lost gold? No, and that’s why Robert Louis Stephenson remains so popular today. Unfortunately, this book is no Treasure Island but instead a sometimes-tedious, overly detailed account of the many treasure-hunting expeditions to a woody Canadian island and the theories about the treasure hidden underground. Former Rolling Stone contributing editor and true-crime specialist Sullivan (Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, 2012, etc.) explores a tale focusing on the efforts of brothers Marty and Rick Lagina to wrest the secrets of a scrubby, tiny spot of land off the Nova Scotia coast. And what might they find? Red herrings, maybe, including “a giant insulating sponge spread out for a length of 145 feet along the shoreline between the high and low tide marks.” Also, deep pits, tunnels, and hidden chambers, to say nothing of “five large granite stones that were spread in different directions in the vicinity of…Joudrey’s Cove.” What else? Well, Oak Island could hide Spanish doubloons from ships blown off course by Caribbean hurricanes or maybe some of Captain Kidd’s ill-gotten loot. Then there are more Dan Brown–esque possibilities, all of which the Lagina brothers merrily entertain on their show and Sullivan dutifully rehearses: the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant, for example, spirited away from their lairs in Cathar France to Scotland “and then, of course, to Oak Island.” Maybe there is something planted by the Knights Templar or a secret left behind by Francis Bacon, the English scientist and all-around oddball, “a theory tethered—at some points, at least—to historical evidence,” as Sullivan credulously but unconvincingly writes.
A middling account for those with an unquenchable jones for yarns of lost codices, Nicholas Cage movies, Edgar Cayce prophecies, and the like.