Synopses & Reviews
In this masterful work of historical fiction set during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, the schemes of Western powers grappling for a foothold in Mesopotamia come vividly to life. English archaeologist John Sommerville begins excavating a historical site, believing he has uncovered a find that will revolutionize his field. But when the Germans threaten his dig with their railroad, he hires an Arab spy, not recognizing the spies dwelling in his own house.
"Deft characterization . . . succeeds in summoning the demons and the angels of Iraq's present and past." Christopher de Bellaigue
[Unsworth"s] work is as clean as Hemingway"s and as dark as Conrad"s.Immensely intelligent and entertaining. . . . Its characters are real, its prose is fluid, its sense of place is pervasive, and its ending is exactly right. . . . All in all a lovely, memorable book. -- Jonathan Yardley
"There is something of E. M. Forster in Unsworth's knowing depiction of a decaying empire."--
About the Author
Barry Unsworth (1930-2012), who won the Booker Prize for Sacred Hunger, was a Booker Prize finalist for Morality Play and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for The Ruby in Her Navel.