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Sheba

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Jack Higgins's most exciting novel of World War II intrigue since his smash bestseller The Eagle Has Landed.

The lost Temple of Sheba is not just a biblical legend.

A German archaeologist has found it. The Nazis have claimed it.

And one American explorer has stumbled upon their secret--a plot that could change the course of World War II...


The year is 1939. An American archaeologist named Gavin Kane is asked to help a woman search for her missing husband. When Kane follows the man's trail into the ruthless desert of Southern Arabia, he makes two shocking discoveries. One is the legendary Temple of Sheba, an ancient world as fantastic as King Solomon's mines. The other is a band of Nazi soldiers who plan to turn the sacred landmark into Hitler's secret stronghold...

272 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1963

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About the author

Hugh Marlowe

11 books4 followers
One of the many pseudonyms used by Henry Patterson. See Jack Higgins for more complete information.

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5 stars
364 (23%)
4 stars
540 (34%)
3 stars
512 (32%)
2 stars
128 (8%)
1 star
31 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Benjamin Thomas.
1,933 reviews263 followers
March 18, 2021
Henry Patterson first published ‘The Seven Pillars of Hell’ in 1963 under his Hugh Marlowe pseudonym. It was then revised and re-released in 1994 as ‘Sheba’ under his much more familiar pseudonym of Jack Higgins. It was written fairly early in his career (the 9th novel published out of over 75).

The story revolves around an early Nazi plot to blow up the Suez Canal at about the same time as the invasion of Poland. The plan would greatly hinder much of the logistical support that their foes would likely count on should they form a coalition against Nazi aggression. That’s the big picture going on behind the scenes. However most of the story itself is centered around an American archeologist named Gavin Kane who finds himself helping a woman try to locate her missing husband in the desert of Southern Arabia. During their adventures, they locate a lost Temple of Sheba as well as encounter the group of Nazis who are planning the bombing of the Canal.

This sounds like a good pulpy Indiana Jones adventure style plot, and it is. Lost treasures, nefarious Nazi plots, tie-ins to an ancient Roman general, a touch of romance, and plenty of action-oriented fights and daring escapes combine to make this a fun ride. This is a stand-alone novel, unlike so much of Jack Higgins’ work so if you’re thinking about trying him out, this is a pretty good place to start.
Profile Image for Jean.
1,699 reviews737 followers
February 20, 2018
A friend gave me a box of books to read and pass on. The only book in the box I had not read was “Sheba” by Jack Higgins. So, I sat down to enjoy it. I have read a number of Higgins’ books and have enjoyed them. Higgins is a British writer.

The book is about Nazis, an archeologist and the Suez Canal. It is a World War II action novel. The book is well written and fast paced. The first part of the book has more description and a great build up to the second half which has lots of action and suspense. The book was originally published in 1994 and is 272 pages.
Profile Image for Chris.
718 reviews89 followers
January 24, 2020
A fun Raiders of the Lost Ark type adventure read. Great escapism. Originally written in 1963 when Higgins was writing as Hugh Marlowe and this updated edition fleshed out in 1995. Very enjoyable, despite some stock characters. Set during WWII.

An exotic locale, smuggling, archaeology, and Nazi's. How does the invasion of Poland, a plot to blow-up the Suez Canal and a search for the temple of the Queen of Sheba come together? Higgins tries to pull it off but the scheming and search for a lost adventurer consume the first half of the book, & the action of discovery, improbable rescues & escapes makes up the rest of the story. The Nazi plot is just a flimsy story device on which to hang the action, you almost forget about it. But I was right there with our intrepid little group as they battled the elements and nogoodniks alike!
Profile Image for Cheryl L..
Author 1 book3 followers
June 10, 2008
Well, I'm a sucker for a novel about an archaeological dig. I subscribe to BAR and I really will have to spend a summer in the field one day. Until then, I pick up as many of these tales as possible. I'm not sure what attracts me. There's nothing too deep in this one, and it's quite formulaic. The desert sands, the strong and intelligent protagonist, the touch of romance, the quest for the long-lost temple of Sheba, they're all there. Good summer reading for around the pool.
Profile Image for Martin Hill.
Author 23 books76 followers
March 3, 2015
I enjoy a good WWII thriller. I grew up on Alistair MacLean gems like The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare. One of my favorite novels in this genre is Jack Higgins The Eagle Has Landed, the classic story of a Nazi attempt to kidnap British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In Sheba, Higgins returns to the WWII thriller in this story about a Nazi attempt to destroy Britain's life line to its eastern colonies, the Suez Canal, on the first day of the war. To do so, they use a German archeologist's secret discovery of the legendary Temple of Sheba in the Arabian Empty Quarter as a clandestine staging area for an airborne attack on the canal scheduled to coincide with the German invasion of Poland.

Gavin Kane is a disillusioned American archeologist who now makes his living taking odd jobs, including smuggling. Kane is hired by an English heiress to find her husband, a British archeologist who went missing in his own for Sheba's temple. By tracing the man's last known movements, Kane, his employer, and the woman Kane loves, find the Temple of Sheba, and stumble onto the Nazi plot. While cover blurb emphasizes the Nazi attack, the Nazi plot is actually disrupted relatively early in the novel. After that, the book becomes a story of survival and revenge.

Sheba mixes elements of H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines with a 1950-ish adventure story. While Sheba doesn't have the depth of Eagle, or a memorable character the likable IRA gunman Liam Devlin, it is an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Oli Turner.
213 reviews2 followers
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September 11, 2021
The ninth jack higgins harry patterson hugh marlowe novel seven pillars to hell published in 1963 revised and released in 1994 as sheba is a wonderful adventure. Think of an indiana jones type who retires from teaching and archeology and becomes a smuggler, is hired to find a missing person and gets caught up in a Nazi plot to destroy the Suez Canal. Great fun. Plus nice to see Higgins give the protagonist a pre-existing relationship rather than forcing instant romance. I suspect that the Nazi plot elements were added 30 years after the original publication. It’s good stuff and gives the book a further dimension. It is a little bit of a shame that that nazi plot is built up at the beginning sprinkled a little throughout and then abruptly comes to an end about two thirds of the way through. I would have liked a bit more in the third act but that would probably have involved significant rewriting and plot changes. Having said that the third act was still fun: treasure hunting, desert survival and kidnapping rescue
30 reviews6 followers
February 7, 2017
Excellent adventure that becomes addictive as the plot unfolds. Set in the context of WW2 gives some credibility to the events. If you like archaeology you will enjoy it.

Not as fast paced as Raiders of the lost ark but along the similar lines. Main character has a good morals. Nothing seedy.

Recommend it for younger boys.
Profile Image for Anna From Gustine.
240 reviews1 follower
September 12, 2017
I really didn't like this book and couldn't finish it. It was a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Unfortunately, the characters were all pretty one-dimensional and adhered close to stereotype. I'll try more of his novels as I know he is highly regarded, but this was just not for me.
Author 16 books11 followers
May 30, 2017
An okay WWII thriller about an archeologist caught up with Nazi spies plotting to disrupt the Suez Canal from a desert in the Middle East. It is amazing how many times the hero gets left with no water in the desert and survives. Apparently one should never underestimate an archeologist.
Profile Image for William.
886 reviews3 followers
May 1, 2019
A thriller novel -- fairly entertaining in its way. Nothing special but moves fast -- one day type read.
WW 2 Middle East -- German bad guys versus American good guys with beautiful woman thrown in for very limited romantic interest.
Profile Image for Lara.
11 reviews2 followers
July 30, 2022
I found a hardcover copy of this book in a library sale. It was ugly green, had nothing on it but the title and the writer - both of them unfamiliar to me then but it was still a siren's call. Love at first sight.

An incredibly biased review, here it comes ~~~

Indeed I am in love with everything about this story. The writing style is fresh, dynamic and direct. Doesn't beat around the bush much. There are no unneccessary loopholes but you still get all the information you need. The action is fast-paced and it takes unexpected turns at every corner. Keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The first few chapters are amazing. Without giving away too much all I can say is - world war novels are usually not my thing. And this is one of them but at the same time it's really not. Travels far away from Germany and even travels in time, back into the Roman Empire and that is just as important - and still blurred into the background, giving space to people in the here and now - as Hitler's Empire.

I love the characters. I love the desert. I love the treasure hunters, the professors, the moneymakers and the native tribes. I love the land of nothing, of outcasts and outlaws with it's cruel reality. I love the established romance which is so rare in these types of books and it's not only perfectly written and seamlessly fitted into the story it even has a pivotal role in really unexpected ways. I love the humour.
I love the ending where the treasure is not the gold, but life itself.
The only "negative" thing I can think about is that Kane, the protagonist had a faithful servant who helped him all the time and we never get to know what happened to him in the end.

What is very interesting to me is that the author is using the usual clichés of the genre - a lonesome, capable and handsome man, the mysterious and beautiful, strong woman, the bad guys who would do anything to thwart to good ones and the good guys who miraculously and impossibly survive everything relatively unharmed. But the story was so good, I never realized that while reading. It only occurred to me after but I didn't even mind. That usually happens when the writer is a master of the craft, a real talented storyteller.

My first thought when I started this novel was damn I want to read everything from this man, he's my style. So I'm looking forward to read everything he published.
502 reviews1 follower
January 16, 2019
I'm fast running out of Jack Higgins books to read. I'll have to start reading them again.
I loved Sheba. At first, I thought it was going to run along the same lines as The Eagle Has Landed, but the story took a different route to its conclusion.
Nazis, ancient treasure, skulduggery and the inevitable love interest for the main male character all came together in a really fast paced World War Two adventure.
Hitler wants the Suez Canal put out of action on the same day as the Panzers roll into Poland. Admiral Canaris of the Abwehr is charged with sorting out the details. A plan is hatched and put into action. However, nobody took into account the tenacity of Gavin Kane, who foils the German plans at every turn, despite being captured and in grave personal danger.
The Germans in the story should have seen what was coming and thrown in the towel, knowing their cause was a lost one. But, as with a lot of warmongers and troublemakers, they thought they knew better than the 'good guys' and carried on regardless.
Profile Image for Luke Eadie.
Author 2 books7 followers
July 25, 2020
My fourth Higgins read. It’s very different than the other ones I’ve read. “Night of the Fox” was a full-on Nazi / espionage action thriller, so it was a suitable introduction to the author for me. Next was “Drink With the Devil”, a violent story about Irish political conflicts and the search for some sunken gold. Then came “Solo”, a dark psychological thriller about a famous concert pianist who is a serial killer behind the scenes.
These all are very different and distinct books, showing Jack Higgins’s ability to break the mold of the traditional formulaic thriller and show his skill at writing.

That’s why “Sheba” came as such a surprise. This is an Indiana Jones-esque action novel that doesn’t have nearly as much Nazi butt-kicking action as I would have liked. It was more centred on the search for the Temple of Sheba and for Ruth’s missing husband. Though there were parts that sucked me in, this is kind of bleak compared some of Higgins’s other works. The character conflicts and even how Kane acts and thinks are kinda eye-rollers.
So yes, this book had it’s pros (thus the 3-star rating), but it also had more cons than I’d bargained for. I can’t wait to read another Higgins novel.
September 10, 2018
During WW II the lost temple of Sheba is found by a German archaeologist but Hitler has other plans for this discovery to help win the war. A US archaeologist vanishes when visiting the area and his wife hires a boat captain who is also an archaeologist to find her husband. The trail is filled with danger and many times were their lives threatened. It is a fast paced book, a bit hard to put down. Just when it all seems hopeless it all comes to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
Profile Image for JO.
53 reviews
December 20, 2017
Having already read " The Edge Of Danger" by Jack Higgins, I preferred Sheba. It turned out to be a wonderful action adventure. Gavin Kane, our hero is no less than Indiana Jones. This plot is set during the second world war with Hitler, the Fuhrer planning to attack Poland. In order to prevent the English to help Poland, the Fuhrer plans to attack the Suez Canal. It is during that period that Muller finds out an ancient temple of Sheba. Hans Ritter device a plan to bomb the Suez Canal using Catalina with the base camp at the temple of Sheba. On the other hand, Ruth Cunnningham comes to Dahrein in search of her husband, who left home in trail of the Sheba's temple. Ruth seeks the help of Kane and from there the story takes an interesting twists and turns.
Profile Image for sarg.
197 reviews14 followers
November 13, 2018
Well this read like a screen script for a Humphrey Bogart movie. WWII movie where Germans are plotting to blowup the Sues canal. Our hero along with a beautiful local girl spoil the plot and our hero rides off On a camel with the beautiful native girl. The end .This was a mediocre read gave it three stars
Profile Image for MAH Hinton.
81 reviews12 followers
September 27, 2020
This Jack Higgins novel was originally published in 1963 with the great title SEVEN PILLARS TO HELL. Why they chose to retitle it to SHEBA is mystery to me.
With Nazis, beautiful women, and archeology, it obviously influenced the Indiana Jones franchise.
Like all Higgins books, even with the new bland title, SHEBA is a great story and a fast read.
13 reviews
October 24, 2017
Good, but not his best.

This was written e n before Higgins hit his stride with Charles Ferguson , Sawn Dillon and others. Slow in developing but plenty of the action scenes Higgins is known for.
Profile Image for Kevin Reeder.
302 reviews
February 17, 2018
Fascinating tale that ties antiquities with a great story

Amazing story line with multiple twists I didn’t see until they were on me. Kane is quite a explorer and surpasses all you can ever imagine before getting caught again.......
118 reviews
July 27, 2019
I had never read anything by this author so thought I should give it a try. Found this book at a yard sale. It was interesting and I enjoyed the historical information contained in the story. The time period is WWII and I have not read many books set in this time period.
Profile Image for Edward Laufer.
179 reviews5 followers
July 26, 2020
This was an unpublished draft by Jack Higgins, which Hugh Marlowe decided to finish for publication.
It shows all of the twists and turns of a normal Jack Higgins Adventure/Thriller, and was very well done. I found myself drawn into the story, and impatient to get to the end.
Profile Image for Brian.
199 reviews9 followers
June 29, 2017
Felt like just another Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I don't know what the chronology is, but it's a "type" that to me has been done many times, and sometimes better.
37 reviews
October 22, 2017
Higgins Sheba

I kept forgetting who the author was as I read. The storytelling was as good as the Sean Dillon books but fresh and new.
Profile Image for Bert Plants.
20 reviews
November 12, 2017
Not his best

Very disjointed, and difficult to get into. Strange plot, weak characters. Quick read though, so the pain ends fairly quickly.
Profile Image for Brian Grouhel.
271 reviews2 followers
April 9, 2019
A Perfect Jack Higgins! The Perfect Way to while away a few hours and get lost in the desert!
40 reviews
July 24, 2020
Interesting plot

Exotic locations and vivid characters brought this book to life for me. Another great read from this truly brilliant author.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews

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