For more than a century Henry Rider Haggard’s novel King Solomon’s Mines has inspired generations of young men to set forth in search of adventure. But long before Rider Haggard’s classic, explorers, theologians and scientists scoured the known world for the source of King Solomon’s astonishing wealth. Taking his leads from a mixture of texts including The Septuagint, the earliest known form of the Bible, as well as using geological, geographical and folkloric sources, Tahir Shah sets out in search for Solomon’s gold mines. For him the obvious place to look is Ethiopia, in the horn of Africa. On the ensuing journey Shah discovers a massive illegal gold mine, itself like something out of the Old Testament, with thousands of men, women and children digging with their hands. But the hardest leg of the journey is to the ‘cursed mountain’ of Tullu Wallel where legend says there lies an ancient shaft, once the entrance to Solomon’s mines.