Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses, and Deadly Confrontations
By W.C. Jameson
Published by Seven Oaks Publishing Company
E-book edition, 263 pages
Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, and the Indiana Jones franchise awaken a deep-seated idea: adventure will break the monotony of life and you never know when you might find treasure beyond your wildest dreams. The quest for discovery compels young and old alike to voyage around the world in search of elusive treasure-or even just dig in your parent’s back yard. For some, the quest of adventure is insatiable.
Such is the case of W.C. Jameson, a self-styled adventurist and treasure hunter, whose Treasure Hunter recounts tales of gallivanting around the Sierra Madres and various borders of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of Mexico. This shaggy dog tale amplifies the escapades he endures when his motley crew of fellow treasure seekers throws caution to the wind in search of obscure treasure.
Perhaps it is too hard to portray treasure hunting differently in the dozen stories which Jameson describes. After reading the first few adventures, the story line became disappointingly predictable: one of the members is an expert in Mexican lore and has discovered a map, or the allusion to a location of some treasure. Next, a brief historical narrative is presented to heighten the drama of the buried treasure and then, without fail, the crew re-discovers the treasure which has been forgotten for years. Inevitably, calamity strikes, and typically, the treasure remains irretrievable.
Jameson’s innuendo is that it probably still exists just where his team left it and while he’s too old to go back and reclaim the treasure in question-you, the reader, could probably discover these treasures with the requisite research.
Although somewhat predictable in places, the book is powerfully written. The reader feels drawn into the drama and can actually feel what it must have been like to crawl through impassable cavern spaces or even navigate perilous excursions with a den of rattlesnakes. Since Jameson has made appropriate initial disclaimers that names and places have been changed to protect the identities of all involved – one has to wonder how much of the story has been embellished for dramatic effect.
The movie Three Kings, popularized by actors George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in 1999, provides a close parallel to the storyline Jameson advances. Three Kings depicts the story of four soldiers who originally set out to steal “stolen” Kuwaiti gold in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. Setting aside their original desire for villainous behavior, they abandon their lust for treasure when they discover people who desperately need their help. In contrast, Jameson says with a speculative hubris: treasure hunting should not be declared illegal: “It is important to understand that almost everything treasure recovery professionals like me do is illegal. Thus, the bizarre and unreasonable laws related to treasure recovery have turned honest, dedicated, and hard-working fortune hunters into outlaws.”
An African proverb asserts, “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Treasure Hunter is a series of evocative quests that will make you want to break out some hiking boots and set off after wealth that has lain buried for hundreds of years. Who knows? Perhaps you will usurp the odds and gain fortune beyond your wildest dreams.
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd