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Duke, Daniel J. Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle. Rochester:
Destiny Books, 2019.

It was not difficult to uncover the provenance of Daniel J. Duke’s exploration and dedication to research all things Jesse James. Duke’s late mother, Betty Dorsett Duke, produced three books surrounding the life (and a much later recorded death) of the outlaw, and through meticulous research, concludes that Jesse Woodson James was not assassinated on April 3, 1882, but faked his death, moved to Texas under the alias James L. Courtney, did not die until April 14, 1943, in Marlin, Texas and, in fact, discovered familial ties with the former Civil War guerilla.

Betty’s son has picked up the heritable gauntlet and taken bold steps in proving that Jesse James not only lived a full life but hid Confederate gold in the United States while creating encrypted maps with ties to the Freemasons. I admit to pausing initially at what appeared American folklore – putting Jesse James amongst history’s greatest tall tales like Finn McCool, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, John Henry and Mike Fink is not really that outlandish, however, I am a historian and any person studying history recognizes its ever-evolving state. New clues, archeological discoveries, diaries, the list goes on. So with an open mind, I burrowed into Duke’s incredible story and found his tale may not be so tall after all.

This in-depth study was undertaken after the discovery of what is purported to be a treasure map created by Betty Dorsett Duke’s great-grandfather James Lafayette Courtney (a.k.a. Jesse James). James was a known Freemason so the supposition that he had access to their techniques makes sense. In fact, the author’s meticulous research, his willingness to show the reader dead ends, wrong turns and eureka! moments while journeying centuries in the past, carefully walking through ancient history mysteries is exciting and very well done considering the length and breadth of the subject matter. I have included an excerpt describing what the author hopes the reader will take away from this monograph:

You, dear reader, are invited to come along with me on one of the
greatest treasure hunts in American history, if not the world.
Treasures that took centuries to amass and at least that long to hide.
Treasures made up not just of gold, silver, and gems but also of knowledge.
When we are done, you may decide these treasures are best left
where they are for now, and you can walk away with a wealth of knowledge
and the satisfaction that you know who was involved, what they
hid, and why something like this had to remain hidden for so long.

Duke fulfilled this objective all the way to 5-stars. If you love history, mysteries, treasure hunting and of course Jesse James, do not hesitate to give your full attention to Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure.

Thank you all for stopping in! If you would like to preorder your copy, the Amazon link is below (release date July 9, 2019). If you would like to receive an email when I post new reviews, Subscribe Now! A big thank you to the author for providing me with an ARC to review! To learn more about the author and any upcoming projects visit his website