The Secret: A Treasure Hunt – Byron Preiss

One morning, whilst waiting for my strong cup of coffee to kick in, and the laptop to boot up the latest manuscript that needs going over , I stuck on the Travel Channel in the hope of finding some adventure.  Or more importantly to avoid all the terrible reality TV that ruins the medium.

Josh Gates was on doing his Expedition Unknown, and at first my heart sank when his quest involved  a book called The Secret,  thankfully it wasn’t referring to that terrible specimen that came out some years ago.

What Josh was referring to was a book that leads to real buried treasure,  and instead of  a classic  ‘X’ marks the spot treasure maps, there are twelve fantasy images  with clues of real world landmarks cryptically embedded within. Accompanying each illustration is poetry with additional clues to entice the reader into this deceptive maze.

Published in 1982, creator Byron Preiss tapped into the The 80’s love of fantasy but he layered it with the theme of immigration, from the Old World to the New.  The fantastical creatures of Europe came over, and morphed into something else, along with those that told the tales.  It is also an encouragement to get out and travel, to appreciate nature, and enjoy a bit of lateral thinking at the same time.

When I read Valverde’s Gold,  a search for treasure in Ecuador .and the misdirection of treasure hunters hoarding their secrets and hoping to gain fame, The Secret in contrast now involves the internet community, who actively pools its clues.

Whilst two boxes have been found the rest remain waiting.  Sadly the author died in a traffic accident, and the illustrator John Jude Palencar never saw the hiding places. Out of respect to Preiss, he burnt all the photos and notes too.  All that is left is the enigmatic book.  Clue solvers will dig up  a ceramic box with a key, which can still be exchanged for a jewels, ranging from diamonds to sapphires.

What can be more intoxicating than books, treasure, and the feeling that you too can take part in the quest without having to be tooled up with all the latest gadgets.  The remaining jewels are still up for grabs, and if nothing else its a lot more preferable to be walking around clutching The Secret, than those people who carry The Da Vinci Code around.

19 Replies to “The Secret: A Treasure Hunt – Byron Preiss”

  1. You always find those good books to read. I am in the middle of reading another Nora Ephron book called I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections. A delightful and sometimes funny read. She talks about writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to find things that are a little quirky if I can. I am hoping to polish off an Alberto Manguel later tonight and start on something non fiction next.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A perfect Ste J adventure! Now all you need to do is locate a treasure in the Philippines, and you’re all set! And thanks to Arlene for the title of what sounds like an intriguing book for writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I did find a treasure in the Philippines of course. I love that there is a real quest there and all the clues are there for anyone to try their hand at them. It gives an extra dimension to having a good walk.


      1. Well, it has now. Don’t be concerned. One blog pal figures she would need 75 more years to read all the books she has that she hasn’t read, and all the books she knows about that she’d like to read. Of course there is more out there! 😀
        Of course I need a least that much time to make all of the Art Gowns I’d like to make. 😀


        1. I have now stopped with a list I update because I won’t be able to read everything, I stopped listing it before I hit nine hundred books. I now live a less pressured life! Life is way too short, my friend!


    1. In a morning I prefer a very black coffee to get me going but if I’m out and about I do dabble, and like to try anything that sounds a bit different from the norm. A coffee in a morning is like buried treasure for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of a children’s middle grade book I read (and my son read) several years ago, I think. I believe it was called “Smells Like Treasure,” and it featured a basset hound. But there is definitely no connection between the two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The noble basset hound is a good choice for a treasure hunt, although a Jack Russell in a deerstalker also comes to mind. Dogs and treasure – not to mention books – is the perfect mix.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. All it takes is one light bulb moment, a clue to fall into place and there is no reason you couldn’t find the treasure. Its sheer accessibility is the best part of it. We should form a team and go find the remaining treasures.

      Liked by 1 person

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