One marine's passion for ancient civilisations and the journey to recover the world's greatest stolen treasures.
The New York tabloids call him 'the pit bull' for his relentless prosecution of high-profile defendants like Sean 'Puffy' Combs. He's an assistant DA, a spit-and-polish Marine, a trigger-puller on counterterrorist mission to Afghanistan, a competitive boxer - and a dedicated classics scholar. So when Matthew Bogdanos discovered that the Iraq National Museum had been looted during the battle of Baghdad, he immediately embarked on a mission to recover the stolen antiquities. Accompanied by a select group of men chosen from his special-ops, interagency task force, Bogdanos set off across the desert without official selection, risking his career and his life in pursuit of this priceless international treasure.
'Thieves of Baghdad' takes you into the rich culture, the colourful characters, the double-dealing and the derring-do that Bogdanos encounters as he tries to sort out once and for all what actually happened during the chaos of the Baghdad invasion, exactly how the thefts took place, and how the most notable objects were retrieved. We see Bogdanos and his team going on raids and negotiating recoveries, blowing open safes and mingling in the marketplaces to track down leads. We are introduced to an assortment of rogues and villains, a full-figured spy, and, in one cafe, a punch-drunk Iraqi heavyweight with whom the colonel puts on a comic sparring match so that his partner can meet unobserved with a notorious arms smuggler. He gradually earns the trust of Iraqis eager to preserve their cultural heritage - and then stuns the world by unearthing the most sensational treasure of all, the Gold of Nimrod, more than 1000 pieces of gold jewellery, precious stones, and ornaments often called 'Iraq's Crown Jewels.'
A mixture of police procedural, treasure hunt, wartime thriller, and cold-eyed assessment of the international black market in stolen art, 'Thieves of Baghdad' also explores the soul of a truly remarkable man: a soldier, a father and a passionate, dedicated scholar.