Friday, October 11, 2013

"The Menorah Men" by Lionel Davidson...

...a vintage 1966 thriller by the late British novelist; the story reminded me of the antics of Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, which came along much later. The hero is a British professor of archaeology who is about to start a major career advancement by developing a department at a new university. He is all but kidnapped (bribed, actually) by the young Israeli government (early 1960's) to come to Israel to interpret the meaning of a newly discovered scroll fragment; there is a chance that his help may lead to the discovery of the hidden location of one of the long-lost treasures of Jewish religion and culture. He goes, he helps, he thinks, he drinks, he smokes, he naturally seduces his young female driver(it's the 1960's after all). I forget how people smoked all the time in those days! There is danger, intrigue, rattling around in the Negev Dessert escaping Arab kidnappers and a rogue flash flood. I learned was a "tel" and a "wadi" are. The story had a witty, James Bond-like feel which seems a bit dated for current times. It got me interested in the subject of locating lost artifacts so I started "The Source" by James A. Michener this afternoon on the train on the ride home. Much better.

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