Gods of Atlantis by David Gibbins

a review by Rebecca Muir

The Gods of Atlantis is the sixth in a series of books about marine archaeologist Jack Howard. In this book, Jack returns to the underwater site of Atlantis (yes, as in the lost city of legend), a Neolithic city which he had discovered some years earlier in the Black Sea. He and his colleagues make some amazing discoveries, which set them on the path of investigation into a time when ancient humans gave up animism and started worshipping gods in the form of men. Tied up in the storyline is a plot in Nazi Germany during World War II, where Heinrich Himmler seeks to use his own archaeological discoveries to underpin his racial supremacy ideology. The two storylines converge in the present day with a discovery of a bunker in Germany. What terrifying secrets does it contain, and how will it help Jack Howard uncover the truth of worship in Atlantis and the fate of the inhabitants when the city was “lost”?

I have not read any of David Gibbins’ books before. There is a fair bit of back story from the other five books in the series, but he explains enough of it that I never felt lost. It is easy to pick this book up and read.
This is a conspiracy-theory novel, with clues running from the dawn of civilisation, through mid-twentieth century war-torn Europe, to the present day. It is an interesting read with fast-paced adventure and intriguing historical conjecture. There are some very disturbing scenes from Nazi Germany, and Himmler’s twisted ideology. Keeping in mind that it is fiction, it is still quite unsettling to consider what went on in Nazi headquarters. For this reason, I would not let younger teens to read this book.

Jack Howard is a likeable character – a brave, daring, capable hero, who nonetheless has weaknesses and vulnerabilities that we are allowed to see. The story is a compelling mystery, and overall it is an exciting and gripping read, with some interesting theories about Atlantis and the beginnings of civilisation. I don’t buy into all David Gibbins’ ideas, but it has whetted my appetite to find out more about this period.

I appreciated the fact that there is a section at the back explaining some of the historical “facts” and where fiction has taken over. A little more detail about the Nazi storyline would have been welcome, though.
If you like adventure, conspiracy theories and historical conjecture, this highly readable book will appeal to you.