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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Military Intrigue With Hints of the Supernatural: Ghosts of Babylon
Yet another veteran-turned-author has joined our ranks. With Ghosts of Babylon, R. A. Mathis has not just earned a place for himself, he’s carved out a rather unique niche as well.
The novel takes place during the occupation of Iraq. Stuart Knight, a professor of archaeology, has volunteered to be a translator for American forces (since he speaks some Arabic) with an ulterior motive: he wants access to the priceless archaeological finds he is sure are waiting to be discovered in the Sandbox. He is attached to a battalion-level command which includes Regular Army soldiers and National Guard, so there’s conflict to be found everywhere—not just between Kurds and Iraqis.
It doesn’t take that conflict long to heat up, either. A local terrorist known as Al-Khayal is developing more and more sophisticated improvised munitions to use against occupation troops. Captain Allen, an intelligence officer (not an oxymoronic title in this case) has an old score to settle with the phantom killer, so finding Al-Khayal is a personal obsession for him. Fellow captain Crumm and their C.O., Colonel Thorne, have their own agenda in-country, and it doesn’t line up with Allen’s.
Then there’s Hadi, the young Kurdish boy who likes to explore. He finds just the sort of archaeological treasure that Stuart Knight is looking for, and that puts his and his family’s lives in jeopardy. There are some adults willing to kill for the artifact, and Hadi eventually runs afoul of Al-Khayal himself.
To read the rest of this review, follow the link to Hot Extract.