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The Last Ember

Levin, Daniel

1,122 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 159448872X / ISBN 13: 9781594488726
Published by Riverhead Hardcover, 2009
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Last Ember

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Includes dust jacket.

About this title

Synopsis:

A search for a priceless artifact stolen from the Second Temple in Jerusalem becomes a race against time, terrorism, politics, and the past.Jonathan Marcus is a promising young archeologist studying at the American Academy in Rome when a terrible accident results in a fellow student's death and Jonathan's expulsion. He abandons archeology for the law, becoming a skillful advocate for unscrupulous antiquities dealers.When Jonathan's firm sends him to Rome to discredit the testimony of a prominent U.N. antiquities official, a chance reunion leads to a hunt for the legendary Tabernacle Menorah: solid gold, eight feet high, stolen 2,000 years ago and never recovered. As Jonathan and his friend scour Rome's ancient sites for hints to its whereabouts, they quickly realize they are not alone and the precious menorah is a key to controlling history itself.

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Product Description

An Italian antiquities squad discovers a woman's preserved corpse inside an ancient column. Pages torn from priceless manuscripts litter the floor of an abandoned warehouse. An illegal excavation burrows beneath Jerusalem's Dome of the rock, ground sacred to three religions.

Jonathan Marcus a young American lawyer and a former doctoral student in classics, has become a sought-after commodity among antiguities dealers. But when he is summoned to Rome to examine a client's fragment of an ancient stone map, he stumbles across a startling secert: a hidden message carved inside the stone itself. The discovery propels him on a perilous journey from the labyrinth beneath the Colosseum to the biblical-era tunnels of Jerusalem in search of a hidden 2,000-year-old artifact sought by empires throughout the ages. As MArcus and a passionate UN preservationist, Dr. Emili Travia, dig more deeply into the past, they're stunned to discover not only an anicent intelligence operation to protect the artifact, but also a ruthless modern plot to destroy all trace of it by a mysterious radical bent on erasing every remnant of Jewish and Christian presence from the Temple Mount. With a cutting-edge plot as intricately layered as the ancient sites it explores, The Last Ember is a gripping thriller spanning the high-stakes worlds of archaeology, politics, and terrorism in its portrayal of the modern struggle to define--and redefine--history itself.


Steve Berry and Daniel Levin on The Last Ember

Interview conducted by Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Charlemagne Pursuit.

Steve Berry: Let me say that The Last Ember is a winner. Secrets, history, conspiracies, adventures. Great stuff. Where did the idea come from?

Daniel Levin: First of all, thanks – it’s an honor to hear that from someone like you. As for the story, the level of espionage in Rome and Greece has always fascinated me. I was a classics student and was surprised to discover loads of intrigue around every corner. So I thought, what if some of that came with modern consequences?

SB: Worked for me. You really brought the ancient world alive. What about that corpse you describe in the opening pages of the novel? The one the Italian antiquities squad finds floating inside an ancient column. Great scene. Is that level of preservation possible?

DL: Amazingly, it is. Embalming techniques in the ancient Roman world used amber and preservative oils. What got my imagination stirring was when I read a historical report that some 15th-century Roman masons once found a perfectly preserved ancient woman floating in an oil-filled sarcophagus. Now that’s a powerful image.

SB: The illicit antiquities trade couldn’t be a timelier topic, especially with many museums currently investigating what artifacts in their collections may have been illegally obtained. Did current events affect your writing?

DL: Absolutely. While I was researching in Rome, there was a case brought against the former curator of the Getty museum, which has one of the finest antiquities collections in the world. I attended the trial and listened to the Italian prosecutor’s opening arguments as to why many of the artifacts should be returned. Fascinating stuff to me, both as a writer and a lawyer. I ended up working much of that Italian courtroom atmosphere into the novel.

SB: Did you actually research some illegal excavations?

DL: I did, and the more I researched illegal excavations around the world, the more I started to see a pattern: some of the largest sites of archaeological destruction were damaged for purely political purposes – simply as a way to erase the past. That's when one of the novel’s themes began to take shape. What if someone was politically motivated to control not the future, but the past?

Read the entire interview [PDF]

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