Neil's bookshelf: read

Pincher Martin: The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin Catch-22 Arctic Dreams Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest The Bolivian times True History of the Kelly Gang

More of Neil's books »
Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists


The greatest rags to riches story ever told


“The man who has done it all… Outstanding, inspiring and beautifully told, no true tale of the sea makes better reading”   Clive Cussler

Goldfinder – the extraordinary, rags-to-riches life story of pioneer diver and treasure seeker, Keith “KJ” Jessop, is now available as an e-book at the bargain price of £0.99 in the UK and at similar bargain rates elsewhere in the world. If you’ve not come across the man or his story before, it’s well worth a look.

Keith  Jessop was the greatest treasure hunter in history, a man who raised tens of millions in gold and precious metals from the sea-bed, but his life was also an incredible human story. Born illegitimate and in abject poverty, his first job was as a sort of underwater scrap metal man – a sort of underwater Steptoe without the Son – on shallow water wrecks off the west coast of Scotland. He risked his life with crude home-made equipment, but he was also a true pioneer, always willing to dive deeper, go further and stay down longer than anyone else – and that a time when the dangers of “the narcs” and “the bends” were barely understood. He was in on the ground floor of saturation diving, working in the North Sea oilfields in the Wild West early days – but he also had a flair for research and an uncanny ability to find valuable wrecks.



    • A fearless diver with a prodigious talent for research, he had a gambler’s instinct that led him to wrecks that had been given up as lost for ever, and in his greatest exploit, he salvaged ten tons of gold from a WWII British warship, HMS Edinburgh, on the sea-bed over 800 feet below the surface of the icy Barents Sea. No divers had ever worked at such depths or in such freezing and perilous conditions before - Keith called it "further away than the surface of the moon" because while it took two and a quarter days to bring the American astronauts back from the moon, it took seven days in decompression to bring divers back from 800 feet. Nonetheless, Keith's team found and raised the gold, stored among tons of unexploded ordnance in the Edinburgh's bomb room, making him an overnight multi-millionaire. He lost that fortune, made another one, and went on to have a string of adventures in every corner of the globe,

      He spoke his mind - he called a spade, a spade, or more likely a f***ing shovel - and his no-frills, no-nonsense approach to life made him plenty of enemies as well as admirers, but he hobnobbed with presidents and princes, fought warlords, gangsters, pirates and crooks, knew personal happiness and tragedy, and overcame obstacles and hardships that would have broken a lesser man. Keith Jessop’s adventures would fill 100 lifetimes. It's a life lived to the full, and a story that I think you’ll never forget.

      Hope you enjoy it.


“The man who has done it all... Outstanding, inspiring and beautifully told, no true tale of the sea makes better reading”   

Clive Cussler

5 Stars. Brilliant!
A must for anyone who loves true life adventures. The book tells the tale of a penniless, illegitimate Yorkshire boy, who grew up to achieve incredible success. It's vividly written and almost impossible to put down as the tension steadily builds towards the dramatic climax where Keith achieves his greatest success bringing up ten tons of gold from the bottom of the freezing Barents Sea. However his victory is then soured by a bitter betrayal, a twist in the tail to rival any work of fiction.

Declan (

If Keith Jessop isn't the model for Clive Cussler's fictional hero Dirk Pitt, I'll eat my hat. He sounds like a combination of Pitt, Jaques Cousteau and Captain Kidd, and his book is fantastic, by turns amusing, exciting, and terrifying, while his account for the search for, and salvage of the ten tons of gold aboard HMS Edinburgh at the bottom of the Arctic, had me on the edge of my seat.

Stacy (

    • 5 Stars. What a story!
      What a story of one man's quest. never give up fighting to make a dream come true. Believe in what you know, hard work will pay off in the end. The book is very well written, right amount of technology as not to lose you but enough to appreciate that diving is not easy but very dangerous if not very careful. Brilliant book could not put it down finished in less than a week.

      N Goodchild (

      5 Stars. Goldfinder
      An extraordinary story - more gripping than most thrillers. They don't make them like this guy any more. Five stars.

      Patricia (

Discover more titles from Neil Hanson

View full list of books

The Unknown Soldier

View More Details

The Confident Hope of a Miracle

View More Details

The Dreadful Judgement

View More Details

The Custom of The Sea

View More Details

Escape From Germany

View More Details

First Blitz

View More Details

Monk Eastman: The Gangster Who Became A War Hero

View More Details

Priestley’s Wars

View More Details

The Sweethearts

View More Details


View More Details

Wish You Were Here!

View More Details

Pigs Might Fly

View More Details

Inn At The Top

View More Details