The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant [Amazon, Abebooks, Bookshop, Local Library] by Graham Hancock, reviewed by Julianus in the Bkwyrm’s Occult Book Reviews archive.
Much as I enjoy Hancock’s other books on ancient history, I still find this to be his best, not least because of the personal significance his quest assumed. To say that Hancock was searching for the lost Ark of the Covenant of the Israelites is a little inaccurate. Hancock started by learning that the Ethiopian Church claims to possess the Ark in the city of Axum and then trying to establish a) if they are right and b) how it could have gotten there. The first question remains unanswered since no one is allowed to examine the Ark, but the second question took Hancock all over the Middle East and Africa in a fascinating quest with all the unexpected twists you could wish for. It will come as no surprise that the Knights Templar and Freemasonry wind up playing a crucial role here, and I will assure the reader that they were certainly not tacked on to fullfil a conspiracy-hunter’s agenda. Over the course of the book Hancock builds an excellent circumstantial case for the Ethiopian claim and provides some remarkable insights into early Judaism, which was very different from its modern form. This is required reading for anyone interested in the subjects covered.