Book Review: The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth

By Dedopulos, illustrated by Jon Lucas (Carlton Books, �9.99)

“NEAR a tree by the river there’s a hole in the ground, where the old man of Aaron goes around and around…”

Hang on a sec, that’s Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle, which was falsely rumoured to reveal the location of a hidden prize within its nonsensical lyrics, whereas we should actually be concentrating on the technology-based descendant of 1979 cryptic treasure hunt Masquerade, but it’s sort of appropriate as a theme tune for this truly unusual and remarkable book.

TGGTHoGE (for short) uses the computer programme Google Earth to create a myriad cryptic puzzles taking the reader on a journey around the world, hunting for answers that will eventually lead to a treasure worth a staggering 50,000 Euros.

By inspecting a series of 14 images, you will uncover clues which will lead to a specific solution, although this could be a person, a place, an object or even a concept. By considering all 14 solutions you will be lead to a specific location on Google Earth where the treasure will be found.

If you struggle with The Times crossword, then perhaps this book isn’t for you, as it frequently requires a great deal of lateral thinking, but also requires the use of Google Earth satellite photographs to pinpoint somewhere on the planet represented in each of the puzzles.

The author has also promised to reveal hints and tips through a linked website – – and encourages readers to follow his Twitter feed to understand more about the mind responsible for creating these puzzles. You will also find additional information lurking within the pages of the Daily Telegraph.

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The whole project is simply remarkable, and kudos to Dedopulos for creating such an intricate and thought-provoking quest, and Herts College of Arts and Design graduate Jonathan Lucas for producing the incredible illustrations which accompany each puzzle.

I’m not sure I possess the commitment and enthusiasm to dedicate the next few months of my life to solving this treasure hunt (it finishes on March 31 2012), but that’s a matter of personal preference, and certainly shouldn’t put you off from getting involved.

It’s always a pleasure to find something so remarkably different in book shops, and there’s no doubt that this project pushes the boundaries of computer-interaction and mental stimulus. Highly recommended to those with the right mindset for this sort of challenge.