The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntoshReceived: from publisher for honest review as part of blog tourPublished: June 7, 2011Pages: 416Get Your Copy: AmazonOut of the searing heat and sandstorms of the infamous summer of 2003 in Baghdad comes The Witch of Babylon, a gripping story rooted in ancient Assyrian lore and its little-known but profound significance for the world. John Madison is a Turkish-American art dealer raised by his much older brother, Samuel, a mover and shaker in New York's art world. Caught between his brother's obsession with saving a priceless relic looted from Iraq's National Museum and a deadly game of revenge staged by his childhood friend, John must solve a puzzle to find the link between a modern-day witch and an ancient one.Aided by Tomas, an archaeologist, and Ari, an Iraqi photojournalist—two men with their own secrets to hide—John races against time to unearth the dark history behind the old science of alchemy: Is the notion of turning lead into gold possible after all?Against his will John is taken back to Iraq. Awaiting him is a fabulous underground treasure trove and the truth behind a famous story the world believes is only a myth.
I'd almost describe this book as cross between The Da Vinci Code, Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible. I think this is one of the best reads this summer: alchemy, history, life and death situations and artifacts, what more could you ask for in a summer adventure?
John Madison is an easily likable character with his laidback way of life. He gets caught up in a game of wit, secrets, and mythology - which causes him to become obsessed with solving the puzzle a friend left behind. He needs to solve it so can save those close to him and bring back a priceless relic that was looted during a raid in Iraq. Madison is clever and very knowledgable with art and antiquities - and as an art lover, I found it rather interesting to read the histories behind many of the pieces mentioned in the book including Durer and Michelangelo.
Madison's adventures around New York and across a few contients bring so many facets of mythology and history that I found completely fascinating. The mythology of Mesopotamia and the idea of alchemy are the core of this storyline and we are brought right into many of the long told stories of Assyrian kings.
I found myself pulled along for the ride while Madison had to decide who he could trust, decipher clues and outsmart unknown enemies. It's a thrilling ride from start to finish, and I did not see that twist coming at all. It totally took me by surprise.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series to see what new adventures Madison can get himself into, either by chance or by choice.
If you jump on over to the official Babylon Trilogy website you can try your hand at playing Babylon Squares and read so many great articles about Mesopotamian Mythology and the inspiration for this book.