Authors: Christopher Dinsdale
Text Â© 2009 Christopher Dinsdale
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, digital, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.
Cover art by Jock MacRae, design by Emma Dolan
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) for our publishing activities.
an imprint of Napoleon & Company
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
13 12 11 10 09Â Â Â Â 5 4 3 2 1
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Dinsdale, Christopher, date-
Betrayed : the legend of Oak Island / Christopher Dinsdale.
PS8607.I58B49 2009Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â jC813'.6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â C2009-904777-2
For my good friends and fellow co-conspirators,
Randy, Paul and Darren, without whose enthusiasm and
support this story might still remain unfinished
In 1496, a young boy named Nicolo was exploring the attic of his large Venetian home. Among the boxes and crates of his great-grandfather's possessions, he found a large pile of papers with almost unintelligible scribbles and drawings covering page after page. Not impressed with this uninteresting use of paper, Nicolo decided to use some of the sheets for painting, while others he simply shredded to use as the stuffing in one of his many art projects
Fifteen years later, Nicolo, now a father and husband, returned to the same attic and rediscovered the same manuscript. To his horror, he realized the significance of what he had nearly destroyed as a child. The series of papers were his great-grandfather's detailed memoirs of his adventures with a mysterious northern prince. They described his voyages west, following the ancient Viking routes to a wild and beautiful land. According to the manuscripts, the voyages took place in the late 1300s, over a hundred years before Columbus sailed west and “discovered” the New World. He found a map detailing Greenland, Nova Scotia and the New England coast. What was missing, however, much to Nicolo's anguish, was the reason why a northern prince and a Venetian navigator would make such a dangerous expedition to a land so far away from their home
Â .Â .Â .
Off the coast of Egypt, April 1392
Screams of death, explosions and cries of war tore through the humid Mediterranean air. Ignoring the distant pandemonium, a craft and its small crew rowed with determination toward a gloomy beach. Clad in iron mail, his blond locks blowing in the warm midnight breeze, a prince from a faraway land stood in the bow and scanned the shore for the signal. He couldn't help but glance with regret upon the distant crimson glow that was the ancient city of Alexandria being brutally sacked. A part of him wished there was another way.
Prince Henry, unlike many other European rulers and Catholic leaders, held Muslims in great respect. They had kept science, medicine and mathematics alive during Europe's grim and backwards dark ages. They were also a faithful people, children of Allah, who worshipped the same God to whom he had pledged his life. Through the Templar knights he had befriended many Arabs, some of whom he would trust with his very life. He could even converse, albeit sketchily, in the language of the desert. Yet this mission was unlike any he had ever attempted. He knew he could trust no one but those within his innermost circle. This was a mission of destiny. The next hour would determine the future of the world's greatest religions for centuries to
come. Failure was unthinkable. And if the city of Alexandria and hundreds of his attacking Templar brethren had to be sacrificed to achieve his goal, then so be it.
Prince Henry strained his eyes, peering into the inky darkness. Through trusted messengers within the Templar Order, he had been given a message that this was the beach where he was to meet the Coptic King of Ethiopia, the leader of the oldest kingdom in Christendom. The reason for the secretive meeting was coded within the message, and Henry was stunned by the revelation contained within the text. Now, in the misty Egyptian twilight, the moment he had planned for over a year was almost at hand, and the enormity of what was about to transpire weighed heavily upon his heart.
Behind him, three pairs of well-oiled oars continued to dip almost silently into the ocean. He was confident that their approach to the beach could not be heard over the approaching surf. He glanced skyward. The ever-thinning blanket of cloud could become a serious problem. His approach might well be silent, but soon he would be visible by the light of the emerging half-moon.
“Are you sure this is the beach?” came a whisper from behind. Antonio Zeno, his most loyal friend, manned the rudder and examined the approaching shoreline.