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True Raiders

The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant

Brad Ricca

St. Martin's Press

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ISBN10: 1250273609
ISBN13: 9781250273604


368 Pages



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This book tells the untold true story of Monty Parker, a British rogue nobleman who, after being dared to do so by Ava Astor, the so-called “most beautiful woman in the world,” headed a secret 1909 expedition to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant. Like a real-life version of Raiders of the Lost Ark, this incredible story of adventure and mystery has almost been completely forgotten today.

In 1908, Monty is approached by a strange Finnish scholar named Valter Juvelius who claims to have discovered a secret code in the Bible that reveals the location of the Ark. Monty assembles a ragtag group of blueblood adventurers, a renowned psychic, and a Franciscan father, to engage in a secret excavation just outside the city walls of Jerusalem.

Using recently uncovered records from the original expedition and several newly translated sources, True Raiders is the first retelling of this group’s adventures—in the space between fact and faith, science and romance.


Praise for True Raiders

"Such a fun read . . . Ricca manages to keep readers hooked with this true story that reads like a novel. It leaves readers wondering just how close the explorers get to finding this long-lost piece of history and just how far they’re willing to go to search for it."Associated Press

"Deliciously fun."Shelf Awareness

“Grounded in historical accuracy, this marvelous story of the true raider of the Ark of the Covenant is fascinating, vivid and suggestive as gold lit by torchlight.”—Eric Zala, director of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, the legendary shot-for-shot remake of the original film

"True Raiders proves that the best stories are often the true ones. Filled with a compelling cast of characters, Brad Ricca’s book unfolds like the best adventure novels. Prodigiously researched, it’s a rollicking, riveting ride and a fascinating read."—Buddy Levy, bestselling author of Labyrinth of Ice, Conquistador and River of Darkness

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Brad Ricca

BRAD RICCA is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, Olive the Lionheart, and Super Boys, winner of the Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction. He won the St. Lawrence Book Award for American Mastodon. Ricca lives and works in Cleveland.

Caroline Markel

Brad Ricca

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