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By: Aileen G. Baron
Academy Chicago Publishers, Chicago
2002 (hc)

Aileen Baron has written a wonderfully atmospheric first novel. Set in 1938 Palestine, Lily Sampson is an American graduate student in archaeology who is fortunate enough to work on a significant excavation under the tutelage of one of Great Britainís pre-eminent scholars, Geoffrey Eastbourne. When artifacts begin to disappear from the dig site, and Geoffrey Eastbourne is brutally murdered, Lily finds herself embroiled in the convoluted plots, sub-plot and intrigues of pre-World War II Palestine in general and Jerusalem in particular.

Aileen Baron is an archaeologist by trade and has spent many years doing fieldwork in the Middle East and her experience shows. Her vivid descriptions of the physical and emotional ambience of this dangerous part of the world is captivating. Violence erupts in the streets among and between Arabs, Jews and other Westerners during these waning days of the British Mandate in Palestine; followers of the Grand Mufti are making common cause with the Nazis; spies spy on spies at lavish embassy balls; and the grand old traditions of tomb raiders continues apace, indifferent to the clashes of cultures and empires, whether Roman, Crusader, Ottoman, British or Nazi, that swirl about them. 

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*MVAC Educational Programs are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
*This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.