"Barry Unsworth, a writer with an "almost magical capacity for literary time travel" (New York Times Book Review) has the extraordinary ability to re-create the past and make it relevant to contemporary readers." is a quote from the back of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I've always had a fascination for archeology and history and combining that with a newer interest in all things middle eastern, this book fit right in! I found it compelling and informative even though it is a work of fiction. The story is set in 1914, pre-WWI times. The historical, archeaological & geological information was interesting and educational at the same time. I enjoy when an author adds little snippets of relevant information to their story. The characters are realistic and believable and make you want to care about the story. This is the kind of book that can draw the reader right in and I felt like I had been on this adventure with them. I didn't like the way the story ended, but it fits. I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. This one's a keeper for me!