Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneIn Search of Paradise There was a time -- our ancient scriptures tell us -- when Immortality was within the grasp of Mankind.A golden age it was, when Man lived with his Creator in the Garden of Eden-Man tending the wonderful orchard, God taking strolls in the afternoon breeze. And the Lord God caused to grow from the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for eating; and the Tree of Life was in the orchard, and the Tree of Knowing good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was parted and became four principal streams: the name of the first is Pishon ... and of the second Gihon ... and of the third Tigris ... and the fourth river is the Euphrates.Of the fruit of every tree were Adam and Eve permitted to eat-except of the fruit of the Tree of Knowing. But once they did (tempted by the Serpent) -- the Lord God grew concerned over the matter of Immortality: Then did the Lord Yahweh say: Behold, the Adam has become as one of us to know good and evil; And now might he not put forth his hand and partake also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever?And the Lord Yahweh expelled the Adam from the Garden of Eden...And He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the Flaming Sword which revolveth, to guard the way to the Tree of Life.So was Man cast out of the very place where eternal life was within his grasp. But though barred from it, he has never ceased to remember it, to yearn for it, and to try to reach it.Ever since that expulsion from Paradise, heroes have gone to the ends of Earth in search of Immortality; a selected few were given a glimpse of it; and simple folk claimed to have chanced uponit. Throughout the ages, the Search for Paradise was the realm of the individual; but earlier in this millenium, it was launched as the national enterprise of mighty kingdoms.The New World was discovered -- so have we been led to believe -- when explorers went seeking a new, maritime route to India and her wealth. True -- but not the whole truth; for what Ferdinand and Isabel, king and queen of Spain, had desired most to find was the Fountain of Eternal Youth: a magical fountain whose waters rejuvenate the old and keep one young forever, for it springs from a well in Paradise.No sooner had Columbus and his men set foot in what they all thought were the islands off India (the West Indies), than they combined the exploration of the new lands with a search for the legendary Fountain whose waters made old men young again. Captured Indians were questioned, even tortured, by the Spaniards, so that they would reveal the secret location of the Fountain.One who excelled in such investigations was Ponce de Leon, a professional soldier and adventurer, who rose through the ranks to become governor of the part of the island of Hispaniola now called Haiti, and of Puerto Rico. In 1511, he witnessed the interrogation of some captured Indians. Describing their island, they spoke of its pearls and other riches. They also extolled the marvelous virtues of its waters. A spring there is, they said, of which an islander grievously oppressed with old age had drunk. As a result, he brought home manly strength and has practiced all manly performances, having taken a wife again and begotten children.Listening with mounting excitement, Ponce de Leon -- himself an aging man -- was convinced that theIndians were describing the miraculous Fountain of the rejuvenating waters. Their postscript, that the old man who drank of the waters regained his manly strength, could resume practicing all manly performances, and even took again a young wife who bore him children -- was the most conclusive aspect of their tale. For in the court of Spain, as throughout Europe, there hung numerous paintings by the greatest painters, and whenever they depicted love scenes or sexual allegories, they included in the scene a fountain. Perhaps the most famous of such paintings, Titian's Love Sacred and Love Pro Profane, was created at about the time the Spaniards were on their quest in the Indies. As everyone well knew, the Fountain in the paintings hinted at the ultimate lovemaking; the Fountain whose waters make possible all manly performances through Eternal Youth.Ponce de Leon's report to King Ferdinand is reflected in the records kept by the official court historian, Peter Martyr de Angleria. As stated in his Decade de Orbe Novo [Decades of the New World], the Indians who had come from the islands of Lucayos or the Bahamas, had revealed that there is an island ... in which there is a perennial spring of running water of such marvelous virtue, that the waters there of being drunk, perhaps with some diet, make old men young again. Many researches, such as Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth: History of a Geographical Myth by Leonardo Olschkil have established that the Fountain of Youth was the most popular and characteristic expression of the emotions and expectations which agitated the conquerors of the New World. Undoubtedly, Ferdinand the king of Spain was one of those so agitated, soexpectant for the definitive news.So, when word came from Ponce de Leon, Ferdinand lost little time. He at once granted Ponce de Leon a Patent of Discovery (dated February 23, 1512), authorizing an expedition from the island of Hispaniola northward. The admiralty was ordered to assist Ponce de Leon and make available to him the best ships and seamen, so that he might discover without delay the island of Beininy (Bimini). The king made one condition explicit: that after having reached the island and learned what is in it, you shall send me a report of it.
Since earliest times, humanity has pondered the incomprehensible mysteries of the universe, life...and the afterlife. Was there somewhere on Earth where, after death, mortal man could join the immortal Gods? Where was this place? By whom was it established? And does it still exist today?
After years of painstaking research -- combining recent archaeological discoveries with ancient texts and artifacts -- noted scholar Zecharia Sitchin has identified the legendary Land of the Gods...and provided astounding new revelations about the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and other mysterious monuments whose true meanings and purposes have been lost for eons.
About the Author
Zecharia Sitchin is an internationally acclaimed author and researcher whose books offer evidence that we are not alone in our own solar system. One of a handful of scholars able to read the Sumerian cuneiform tablets, he has combined archaeology, ancient texts, and the Bible with the latest scientific discoveries to retell the history and prehistory of mankind and planet Earth. His trailblazing books have been translated into more than twenty languages; his first one, an oft-quoted classic, celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its publication. A graduate of the University of London and a journalist and editor in Israel for many years, he now lives and writes in New York.