The Spanish Helmet

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The Spanish Helmet
The Spanish Helmet - Cover
Cover of first edition 2011
Author Greg Scowen
Cover artist Greg Scowen
Country US
Language English
Genre Conspiracy thriller, Historical fiction
Publisher Whare Rama Books
Publication date
May 2011
Media type Print (Paperback) and E-book
Pages 364 pp
ISBN ISBN 978-1-4635-5848-2

The Spanish Helmet is a thriller/historical fiction novel by Swiss/New Zealand author Greg Scowen. Published in 2011, it is the first book featuring Scowen's character Dr. Matthew Cameron. The novel received mixed reviews in New Zealand newspapers due to its handling of controversial theories relating to New Zealand's accepted history. While one book reviewer praised the novel for a thought-provoking story-line,[1] another labelled sub-plots of the debut work as laughable.[2] Most agree that despite the sometimes 'clunky' writing, The Spanish Helmet is a fun, easy and quick read.[3]

The peer reviewed journal of the Australian and New Zealand Map Society (The Globe: ISSN: 0311-3930) included a review of The Spanish Helmet in their first bi-annual issue of 2013. The reviewer was John Dancy of Ordinance Survey, UK. In summary, the reviewer had some issues with the book which he suggests may come about from his distance from the setting, however he concluded that the story-lines are believable and there is something there to keep you interested until the end. Dancy also commented on the fine use of maps and thorough knowledge of New Zealand presented.[4]

Link to conspiracy theories[edit]

The plot of The Spanish Helmet revolves around a theory that New Zealand was discovered by the crew of a Spanish ship lost at sea in 1525. This theory was originally proposed by Australian writer Robert Langdon in his 1975 work The Lost Caravel.[5] Scowen acknowledges the work of Langdon as the basis for the novel and has intertwined the story of the crew of the San Lesmes beyond their last sighting with the story of a modern-day archaeologist/historian who investigates the suggested New Zealand discovery.

Another possible settlement of New Zealand by Celts is also lightly skirted around.


The novel was selected by the New Zealand Society of Authors for presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012, where New Zealand was the guest of honour.[6]


  1. ^ Jillian Allison-Aitken (21 January 2012). "Alternative history delivers". The Southland Times. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Three Short Book Reviews – History, Loudmouths and More History". BookieMonster Blog. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Elizabeth Winter (20 November 2011). "Review of The Spanish Helmet". The Saturday Express (Marlborough Express). Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Dancy, John. The Spanish helmet [Book Review] [online]. Globe, The, No. 72, Jun 2013: 35-36. Availability: <;dn=182046685207490;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 0311-3930. [cited 26 Mar 14].
  5. ^ Langdon, Robert (1975). The Lost Caravel. Pacific Publications. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-85807-021-9. 
  6. ^