The best books about ancient civilizations

6 authors have picked their favorite books about ancient civilizations and why they recommend each book.

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12th Planet

By Zecharia Sitchin,

Book cover of 12th Planet: Book I of the Earth Chronicles

Zecharia Sitchin makes a lot of crazy-sounding claims. He talks about faraway planets and NASA-style rocketry. He doesn't provide references, and he doesn't make convincing logical arguments. Nevertheless millions of people believe his claims. My own research shows that most of Sitchin's conclusions are pretty unfounded—but, there is a thread of evidence within the ancient literature that seems to indicate that at least some of Sitchin's core ideas might be at least partly correct.

12th Planet

By Zecharia Sitchin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 12th Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the years, startling evidence has been unearthed, challenging established notions of the origins of Earth and life on it, and suggesting the existence of a superior race of beings who once inhabited our world. The product of thirty years of intensive research, The 12th Planetis the first book in Zecharia Sitchin's prophetic Earth Chroniclesseries--a revolutionary body of work that offers indisputable documentary proof of humanity's extraterrestrial forefathers. Travelers from the stars, they arrived eons ago, and planted the genetic seed that would ultimately blossom into a remarkable species...called Man. The 12th Planetbrings to life the Sumerian civilization, presenting millennia-old…

Who am I?

I have always been interested in ancient civilizations and have studied extensively from Egypt to Hebrew. One of the great mysteries is why all of our ancestors seem to be so concerned with powerful gods from other realms. Do such other realms exist? Did the ancients experience physical or spiritual phenomena? It remains a great mystery. However, as I read the ancient stories it became clear that perhaps our normal ways of interpreting their own experiences may not be entirely accurate. Perhaps they deserve another reading with a fresh set of eyes.


I wrote...

Enuma Elish: The Original Text with Brief Commentary

By Ken Goudsward,

Book cover of Enuma Elish: The Original Text with Brief Commentary

What is my book about?

The Enuma Elish is widely known as the classic Akkadian creation myth, passed down from the Sumerian, and replete with all the gods one has come to expect from ancient mythology. But is this an accurate reading? Were our ancestors superstitious rubes who relied on supernatural forces to explain their own existence? Or did they perhaps know another story that we have long forgotten, but whose truths continue to echo in our subconscious and in modern-day technological phenomena?

A fresh interpretation for a technological age, this analysis incorporates software engineering, navigational algorithms, and biotechnology into the Sumerian traditions in a wholly systematic and integrated way, avoiding wild interjection and the constraining assumptions of religious trappings.

Heaven's Mirror

By Graham Hancock, Santha Faiia,

Book cover of Heaven's Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization

Much of the key stuff that’s mentioned in the books above are contained in Heaven’s Mirror by the great Graham Hancock and his wife Santha Faiia. So, the book’s a great place to start if you’re new to all this rethinking ancient Egypt malarkey. Heaven’s Mirror also covers other civilizations like the Mayans and Incas. For me, this book is so special because it contains some absolutely glorious and spellbinding photos of key ancient sites in Egypt, such as Karnak, Dendera, Abydos, and the pyramids of Giza, Dashur, and Saqqara, which I was lucky enough to visit myself and which I wrote about in The Road To Purification.

Heaven's Mirror

By Graham Hancock, Santha Faiia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heaven's Mirror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the sequel to the international bestseller, "Fingerprints of the Gods". In very different parts of the world, evidence exists of a common legacy - shared by cultures separated by hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. From Mexico to Iceland, Cambodia to Easter Island, China to Egypt, we are finding a common astronomical wisdom handed down from a time before history, a time perhaps before the 'Great Flood'. This book addresses a common wisdom from a lost civilisation which might hold the key to our own identity on earth. "Heaven's Mirror" is a personal quest for the answer - the…

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in ancient Egypt ever since I read Asterix and Cleopatra when I was a boy. The hilarious moment of Obelix accidentally knocking off the Sphinx’s nose has always stayed with me in particular. By my early twenties, I was reading authors like Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, and Colin Wilson, who showed me that what we think we know about ancient Egypt is not wholly correct. For instance, there’s little evidence that the Great Pyramid’s purpose was to be a tomb and the Sphinx seems to be much older than Egyptologists believe. In 2010, at thirty-four years old, I finally got to visit the wonders of Egypt myself.


I wrote...

The Road to Purification: Hustlers, Hassles & Hash

By Harry Whitewolf,

Book cover of The Road to Purification: Hustlers, Hassles & Hash

What is my book about?

When stress-headed Mad Harry spontaneously books a flight for Egypt after a rather nasty break-up, he doesn’t know he’s about to embark on a mad pot-smoking pilgrimage of adventure. 

Guided by signs in numbers, names, and otherworldly encounters, Mad Harry’s trip often seems to be a magical manifestation of his fragile mind. This good-humoured true travel tale is told in a frank, rhythmic, and playful voice. Set in 2010, shortly before Egypt's revolution, The Road To Purification is a backpacking odyssey through tremendous temples, towering pyramids, chaotic cities, small villages, dirty beaches, and deceitful strangers... with a backdrop of ancient spiritual gnosis. A holiday this is not.

Eden in the East

By Stephen Oppenheimer,

Book cover of Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia

In the late 1990s when this book was published, it seems no scientist had ever given serious thought to the consequences for human evolution of the submergence of Sundaland in the aftermath of the last ice age. There is compelling scientific evidence, compiled and analyzed here in compendious detail, that Sundaland was a heartland of human innovation and that its drowning may have led to the spread of rice agriculture, pottery making, and even tales of lands being ‘fished up’ (as by the Pacific demigod Maui). An astonishing read that today I still regard as largely credible.  

Eden in the East

By Stephen Oppenheimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eden in the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the Ice Age, Southeast Asia formed a continent twice the size of India. The South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Java Sea, which were all dry, formed the connecting parts of the continent. Geologically, this half-sunken continent is the Sunda shelf of Sundaland. In Eden in the East Stephen Oppenheimer puts forward the astonishing argument that here in Southeast Asia was the cradle of civilisation that fertilised the great cultures of China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Crete six thousand years ago. He produces evidence from ethnography, archaeology, oceanography, from Creation stories, myths and…

Who am I?

Growing up in post-WWII Europe, young people’s anxiety was often channelled into searching for ‘lost worlds’, places hope could be nurtured and ancient solutions revived. So I encountered Atlantis and Lemuria and other imagined places but also learned, from training as a geologist, that once-populated lands had actually been submerged. Myths and legends often contain grains of observational truth at their heart. The more ‘submergence stories’ I research, from Australia through India and across northwest Europe, the more I realize how much we have forgotten about undersea human pasts. And how our navigation of the future could be improved by understanding them.


I wrote...

Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

By Patrick Nunn,

Book cover of Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

What is my book about?

Across the world, we find stories about lands under the ocean said to have once been occupied by people just like us. Most of us think this just cannot be true, so we dismiss these stories as ‘myths and legends’, entertaining yet baseless. Yet after the end of the last great ice age, melting land ice raised the ocean surface 120 meters (almost 400 feet) over several thousand years. This so traumatized coastal peoples that they encoded their memories of land loss in oral traditions which morphed into ‘myths and legends’ to reach us today. 

Our ancestors’ encounters with rising oceans can be reconstructed and, as this book shows, help us rationalize and cope with expected future sea-level rise.

Book cover of The Collapse of Complex Societies

Tainter makes a powerful and almost irrefutable case for complexity as the key to understanding both the rise and the fall of civilizations. In essence, complexity builds and builds until it is no longer manageable, so collapse ensues. That Tainter does not sufficiently appreciate the role that ecological limits, physical constraints, moral decline, and practical bungling can also play in the process does not detract from the power and utility of his argument. For these latter factors, see my own Immoderate Greatness.

The Collapse of Complex Societies

By Joseph Tainter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collapse of Complex Societies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Any explanation of political collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all complex societies in both the present and future. Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.

Who am I?

William Ophuls served as a Foreign Service Officer in Washington, Abidjan, and Tokyo before receiving a PhD in political science from Yale University in 1973. His Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity published in 1977 laid bare the ecological, social, and political challenges confronting modern industrial civilization. It was honored by the Kammerer and Sprout awards. After teaching briefly at Northwestern University, he became an independent scholar and author. He has since published a number of works extending and deepening his original argument, most prominently Requiem for Modern Politics in 1997, Plato’s Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology in 2011, and Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail in 2013.


I wrote...

Electrifying the Titanic: The Shipwreck of Industrial Civilisation

By William Ophuls,

Book cover of Electrifying the Titanic: The Shipwreck of Industrial Civilisation

What is my book about?

Innumerable warnings, growing increasingly dire as the years have rolled by, have failed to motivate peoples and nations to take the emerging ecological crisis as seriously as it warrants. What is worse, they have chosen exactly the wrong strategy for dealing with the crisis: instead of remodeling their societies and economies in accordance with ecological imperatives, they are trying to maintain business as usual by substituting solar electricity for fossil fuels. But refitting the Titanic with batteries, even if it were possible at this late date, will not avoid ecological shipwreck.

As a result, we stand on the precipice of radical change, change that threatens to end both the modern way of life and the long period of relative peace since the end of World War II. This work explores the limitations of the human mind that have prevented timely human action and reveals the bleak landscape of the future that our failure to act has now made all but inevitable. 

Before Civilization

By Colin Renfrew,

Book cover of Before Civilization

Based on the "radiocarbon revolution" as a method of dating archaeological finds, the great English archaeologist Sir Colin Renfrew redraws the map of the dawn of civilization in the Mediterranean basin and in Europe. The result is a new framework, in which the idea of a single cradle, located between Egypt and the Middle East, from which civilization would have spread to the rest of Europe, is replaced by the identification of different places where it started, scattered throughout the continent.

Before Civilization

By Colin Renfrew,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Before Civilization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The refinement of radiocarbon dating using the information form tree-ring counts has raised serious doubts about the accepted theoretical frameowkr of European prehistory. Monuments in Central and Western Europe have proved to be considerably older than their supposed Near-Eastern forerunners, and the record must be almost completely rewritten in the light of these new dates. Before Civilsation is a preliminary attempt to do this with the help of analogies from more recent and well-documented primitive societies. The more glaring inconsistencies in the old theory are re-examined and Professor Renfrew shows convincingly how the baffling monuments of prehistoric Europe, like Stonehenge,…

Who am I?

 I've been fond of the Homeric poems since my youth. I followed classical studies in the high here in Rome, so I studied Latin and Greek before graduating in nuclear engineering. Then, in addition to my professional activity, I've devoted myself to the study of The Iliad and the Odyssey, with their huge contradictions between geography and their traditional Mediterranean setting. The book I published on this topic was translated and published into eight foreign languages (as The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales), and has given rise to many scientific discussions. I also published The Mysteries of the Megalithic Civilization, a Bestseller here in Italy.


I wrote...

The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales

By Felice Vinci,

Book cover of The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales

What is my book about?

The real scenario of the Iliad and the Odyssey is not identifiable in the Mediterranean Sea, where it gives rise to innumerable inconsistencies, but in Northern Europe. The sagas that gave rise to the Homeric poems came from the Baltic world, where in the second millennium BC the Bronze Age flourished and where many Homeric places, such as Troy and Ithaca, can still be identified. These sagas were brought from Scandinavia to Greece by the blond Achaeans who founded the Mycenaean civilization around the 17th-16th century BC.

This ancient oral tradition was put into writing around the 8th century BC, when alphabetic writing was introduced in Greece, thus giving rise to the Iliad and the Odyssey in their current form.

The Lost Land of Lemuria

By Sumathi Ramaswamy,

Book cover of The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories

Sometimes English readers are never exposed to histories in other languages but I feel personally indebted to Sumathi Ramaswamy for this monumental scientific study of Tamil traditions about the ‘lost land’ of Kumari Kandam. It is not merely comprehensive but leads its reader through Tamil literature and poetry to express the profundity of loss associated with this land’s submergence. Which may conceivably have informed western stories about Lemuria in the Indian Ocean.

The Lost Land of Lemuria

By Sumathi Ramaswamy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Land of Lemuria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the nineteenth century, Lemuria was imagined as a land that once bridged India and Africa but disappeared into the ocean millennia ago, much like Atlantis. A sustained meditation on a lost place from a lost time, this elegantly written book is the first to explore Lemuria's incarnations across cultures, from Victorian-era science to Euro-American occultism to colonial and postcolonial India. The Lost Land of Lemuria widens into a provocative exploration of the poetics and politics of loss to consider how this sentiment manifests itself in a fascination with vanished homelands, hidden civilizations, and forgotten peoples. More than a consideration…

Who am I?

Growing up in post-WWII Europe, young people’s anxiety was often channelled into searching for ‘lost worlds’, places hope could be nurtured and ancient solutions revived. So I encountered Atlantis and Lemuria and other imagined places but also learned, from training as a geologist, that once-populated lands had actually been submerged. Myths and legends often contain grains of observational truth at their heart. The more ‘submergence stories’ I research, from Australia through India and across northwest Europe, the more I realize how much we have forgotten about undersea human pasts. And how our navigation of the future could be improved by understanding them.


I wrote...

Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

By Patrick Nunn,

Book cover of Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

What is my book about?

Across the world, we find stories about lands under the ocean said to have once been occupied by people just like us. Most of us think this just cannot be true, so we dismiss these stories as ‘myths and legends’, entertaining yet baseless. Yet after the end of the last great ice age, melting land ice raised the ocean surface 120 meters (almost 400 feet) over several thousand years. This so traumatized coastal peoples that they encoded their memories of land loss in oral traditions which morphed into ‘myths and legends’ to reach us today. 

Our ancestors’ encounters with rising oceans can be reconstructed and, as this book shows, help us rationalize and cope with expected future sea-level rise.

Fingerprints of the Gods

By Graham Hancock,

Book cover of Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

“We are a species with amnesia.” – Graham Hancock. 

There was human history before there was human history, and traces of that lost time can be found in our myths and legends. In his breakout 1996 book, Fingerprints of the Gods author Graham Hancock puts forth the exciting, and highly controversial possibility that, thousands of years before the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, there may have been an advanced, global human civilization. He postulates this civilization was annihilated in a world-shattering catastrophe. Now, a quarter of a century after publication, science is slowly catching up with Hancock’s hypothesis.

Fingerprints of the Gods

By Graham Hancock,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fingerprints of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Could the story of mankind be far older than we have previously believed? Using tools as varied as archaeo-astronomy, geology, and computer analysis of ancient myths, Graham Hancock presents a compelling case to suggest that it is.
 
“A fancy piece of historical sleuthing . . . intriguing and entertaining and sturdy enough to give a long pause for thought.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
In Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock embarks on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. In ancient monuments as far apart as Egypt’s Great Sphinx, the strange Andean…

Who am I?

Years ago, a young helicopter pilot struggled through thick fog to fly to his base in Southern Turkey. Through the mist, he briefly glimpsed a strange, Stonehenge-like ruin beneath his helicopter. The pilot would one day learn it was the excavation of Göbekli Tepe, a megalithic complex over 12,000 years old. These ruins were already ancient before the Great Pyramids were even built. I was that helicopter pilot, and this event inspired me to imagine the world that birthed Göbekli Tepe. That experience, and my five book recommendations, propelled me to write Black Sea Gods, the first novel in the epic fantasy series The Chronicles of Fu Xi.


I wrote...

Black Sea Gods: Chronicles of Fu Xi

By Brian Braden,

Book cover of Black Sea Gods: Chronicles of Fu Xi

What is my book about?

Before the Age of Mythology, there were Black Sea Gods.

The fish have disappeared from the sea. The animals have vanished from the land. All humanity, and even the gods, tremble under the specter of a pending cataclysm. A terrible curse has been cast by a mysterious power, one intended to destroy everything, even the gods. Humanity's last hope rests solely with a wandering demigod, a simple fisherman, and a banished slave girl. Beset on all sides by ancient foes, both immortal and mundane, they must act quickly to avert this dark curse. Over seven days, the defining struggle of gods and humans begins under the onslaught of a powerful force whose true purpose remains shadowed.

The Mound Builder Myth

By Jason Colavito,

Book cover of The Mound Builder Myth: Fake History and the Hunt for a Lost White Race

As part of my “fifty sites project” for another book, I visited the best-known Native American earthwork sites in the American Midwest including: precisely crafted conical burial mounds; enormous, flat-topped “platform mounds;” embanked enclosures; and remarkable effigies in the shapes of birds, bears, and snakes. I was awed by their beauty and sophistication, but, sadly, settlers did not always view them as the work of Native People. Prolific author Jason Colavito conducts a deep dive into the racist roots of the myth of a “lost race” of ancient inhabitants of America who were claimed by some to have built those earthworks. Colavito brilliantly deconstructs the myth of a lost race of mound builders and gives due credit to the true authors of those earthworks, America’s Native People.

The Mound Builder Myth

By Jason Colavito,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mound Builder Myth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Say you found that a few dozen people, operating at the highest levels of society, conspired to create a false ancient history of the American continent to promote a religious, white-supremacist agenda in the service of supposedly patriotic ideals. Would you call it fake news? In nineteenth-century America, this was in fact a powerful truth that shaped Manifest Destiny. The Mound Builder Myth is the first book to chronicle the attempt to recast the Native American burial mounds as the work of a lost white race of ""true"" native Americans.

Thomas Jefferson's pioneering archaeology concluded that the earthen mounds were…

Who am I?

My fascination with the ancient past began when I was four years old and wanted to be a dinosaur, specifically a Tyrannosaurus rex. When it became clear that this option was not open to me, I decided instead to become an archaeologist. Archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs, but instead investigate human antiquity. When I began my 40+ years of teaching archaeology, I asked students what topics they wanted covered in class. Invariably they expressed an interest in things like ancient astronauts, Atlantis, Stonehenge, and pyramids. This led me to a career-long study of strange claims about the human past, it provided the raw material for multiple books on the subject.


I wrote...

Book cover of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

What is my book about?

Petrified biblical giants. Ancient aliens. Lost tribes, lost continents, and lost civilizations. Archaeology is beset by some pretty out-there claims and wild speculations concerning the human past. Newspaper headlines and social media pronouncements suggest that we archaeologists walk around in a state of perpetual bafflement about such things. I was first exposed to “pseudoarchaeology” during an encounter with a person who, upon learning I was an archaeology student, asked if I thought extraterrestrial visitors to Earth had built the pyramids of Egypt. When I became an actual archaeologist, that encounter provided one of my inspirations for writing a book debunking this and other claims about the human past that are unsupported by archaeological evidence. Sure, my message is serious, but we have a lot of fun along the way.

The Sunbird

By Wilbur Smith,

Book cover of The Sunbird

The Sunbird was Wilber Smith’s first book. It was one of the first books on Wild African Adventure that I read and has kindled in me a lifelong passion for Africa, African animals, and the love of wildlife. It was a reason that I became a veterinarian and that I wanted to work with African Wildlife. It is a mix of contemporary and historic African Fiction. It is memorable because it is a wonderful story that I would want to share around the fire in a camp somewhere in the heart of the African bush. I would want Wilbur Smith to tell me the story as we sit around the fire. It evokes all that is magical and wonderful about Africa, the continent I love and live on. The book taught me that the story is paramount. Not the skill of the author as a literary giant. I want to…

The Sunbird

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sunbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A photograph and a curse are the only clues Dr Ben Kazin has before he stumbles on the archaeological discovery. Beneath the red cliffs of Botswanaland a civilization has remained buried for millennia. But the magic of uncovering a lost culture is interrupted by the violence of terrorists, love, intrigue and the secrets of centuries.

Who am I?

I am a veterinarian who has worked extensively with African Wildlife in the heart of the African bush. I have also met African Sangoma’s, witch doctors. I have made a study of African mysticism and Ancestral communications and have participated in African mystic rituals, including the cleansing ritual called smudging or burning of herbs and utilizing the smoke for spiritual cleansing. In my books, I fuse my knowledge of African wildlife, African customs and rituals, and my innate ability to tell a good story and have brought forth the Jamie James series. They are quintessential African Adventures taking place in the heart of the African bush.


I wrote...

The Curse of the Ancestors, with Jamie James

By Roy Aronson,

Book cover of The Curse of the Ancestors, with Jamie James

What is my book about?

Jamie James is 15. His parents have been divorced since he was five and he has not heard from his father since the divorce. Suddenly he receives a communication from him, beseeching him to come and visit because their lives are in danger. His father lives in Nelspruit, the wildlife capital of Southern Africa. He travels there and discovers that there is a death curse on his family and his father, who turns fifty in a few weeks is about to die. Jamie undergoes a mystical transformation to lift the curse. Can Jamie and his friends lift the curse in time to save his father. Join them in a race against time to change the fate of his family that is two hundred years in the making?

Chariots of the Gods

By Erich von Däniken,

Book cover of Chariots of the Gods

This might seem like an odd choice, but I’m recommending Chariots of the Gods because, while technically a non-fiction book, it turns our own ancient history into sci-fi! My mother, of all people, gave me my first copy of this book in high school, thus starting my lifelong fascination with the ancient astronaut theory. I’ve never been able to look at a pyramid the same way since! 

Chariots of the Gods

By Erich von Däniken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chariots of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SEVEN MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

The groundbreaking classic that introduced the theory that ancient Earth established contact with aliens.

Immediately recognized as a work of monumental importance, Chariots of the Gods endures as proof that Earth has been visited repeatedly by advanced aliens from other worlds. Here, Erich von Daniken examines ancient ruins, lost cities, spaceports, and a myriad of hard scientific facts that point to extraterrestrial intervention in human history. Most incredible of all, however, is von Daniken's theory that we are the descendants of these galactic pioneers-and he reveals the archeological discoveries that prove it...

The dramatic discoveries…

Who am I?

I grew up in a home filled with books, yet science fiction was often missing from my parent’s shelves. True, my mother did smuggle me a copy of Chariot of the Gods, but that was only after she saw that my fascination with UFOs, aliens, and all things ancient beyond comprehension was not going to simply go away. To me, the best stories were those set in the future, yet dealing with beings and mysteries older than the human race itself. When I began writing The Ruins of Mars, I brought that passion to my own work, crafting a story that felt timeless, hopeful, and full of mystery.


I wrote...

The Ruins of Mars

By Dylan James Quarles,

Book cover of The Ruins of Mars

What is my book about?

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the near future, The Ruins of Mars opens on the discovery of an ancient city buried under the sands of the red planet. Images captured by twin sentient satellites show massive domes, imposing walls, and a gridwork of buildings situated directly on the rim of Mars' Grand Canyon, the Valles Marineris. With the resources of Earth draining away under the weight of human expansion, a plan is hatched to reclaim Mars from the cold grasp of death. A small band of explorers, astronauts, and scientists are sent to the red world in mankind's first interplanetary starship to begin construction on a human colony. 

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