Part travelogue, part true-thriller, Edward Fox's brilliantly original book investigates the murder of a US archaeologist on the West Bank in 1992 and opens up the Palestinian world he served - a 'Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil' of Palestine and the West Bank.
On 19 January 1992, Dr Albert Glock - US citizen, archaeologist and Director of Archaeology at Bir Zeit University in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was murdered by an assassin. Two bullets to the heart. The witness statements were confused, the autopsy inadequate. The police took three hours to arrive at the scene, from their HQ ten minutes away.
Who killed Albert Glock? The Palestinians blamed the Israelis, the Israelis blamed an inter-departmental feud at the university, or extreme Palestinian groups. But those close to Bir Zeit, to the political situation on the West Bank, had a simple line of advice: "Look to the archaeology", they repeated. "Look to the archaeology".
For Albert Glock had started to uncover truths about the distant Palestinian past which Israel found uncomfortable. For Israel, Palestine was a country without a people - for a people without a country. Now Glock, through his archaeological finds, was showing that their version was flawed. He was publishing papers about the ancient traditions and settlements throughout Palestine, and discovering hugely significant facts about the ancient Palestinian way of life.
Glock had given up a glittering career to teach at Palestine's beleaguered, besieged and underfunded university which faced closure at worst, and curfew at best - daily.
Edward Fox's extraordinary book weaves together the story of Glocks' murder with the history of biblical archaeology and the brutal, Byzantine politics of the intifada. It is written as a true-life thriller which opens up the Palestine in which Glock lived and worked, the people he knew and the turbulent politics of the middle east.
The book shows how history and archaeology become as politically charged as nuclear war in arenas of territorial, cultural, religious conflict. It deals in shadows: an obscure and strange murder committed at twilight; a turbulent and confused mish-mash of motives from a melee of interest groups who may be guilty; a science which pieces together remnants to form a shadowy history. This is brilliantly original writing and compelling storytelling quite unlike any other.