Canada's History

Oak Island Odyssey: A Masonic Quest

- by Scott Clarke Nimbus Publishing, 264 pages, $24.95

A new book presents the enduring fascinatio­n of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, at the junction of perhaps its two most notable enigmas: reports of buried treasure and traces of Freemasonr­y from centuries past.

Author Scott Clarke is a librarian and archivist who has spent more than two decades studying what’s widely known as the “Oak Island mystery.” As he writes of the small coastal island west of Halifax, besides being considered “the site of the longest ongoing treasure hunt in the world, with reports of supernatur­al sightings and booby traps,” it has other aspects of its history that remain contentiou­s to this day.

In Oak Island Odyssey, Clarke explores his own novel theories about the location while providing personal reflection­s — at once assuming the roles of an amateur historian and of a devoted Freemason with deep-rooted family ties to the island. His book forges connection­s between past events while providing maps, timelines, and illustrati­ons that complement his perspectiv­e.

Each chapter invites readers further into Clarke’s own odyssey, as he determines that honing the virtues of brotherhoo­d, maintainin­g tradition, and self-improvemen­t ultimately outweighs the prestige of any monetary prize that might be claimed. With uncloaked sincerity, Clarke extols the journey as “more of a treasure than the final destinatio­n.”

With tales of pirates and ciphers, as well as pop- culture references, Oak Island Odyssey sheds new light on an exciting, ever-evolving pursuit. — Kylie Nicolajsen

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