Title: The Scorpion’s Bite
Author: Aileen G. Baron
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Paperback: 250 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
It is 1943 and the world is at war. Archaeologist Lily Sampson has been sent to Trans-Jordan, by the OSS, along with Gideon Weil, the famous director of the American School of Archeology in Jerusalem. As part of their survey, they roam the beautiful, silent, Trans-Jordanian desert where the indelible presence of Lawrence of Arabia is still lingers, and where the ancient Nabateans once ruled an empire from their capital in Petra. Soon Lily and Gideon are stranded in the Wadi Rum, and their Bedouin guide is murdered. When Gideon is accused of the crime, Lily must clear him of the accusation. Lily discovers that two oil pipelines run from Iraq through the desert to the ports on Mediterranean, one through one through Trans-Jordan that supplies the Allies, the other through Syria that supplies the Nazis. Syrians and Vichy French are raiding across the border, threatening to destroy the Trans-Jordan pipeline. Lily discovers their real mission is to help safeguard the Trans-Jordan pipeline and to prevent oil from reaching the Nazis through Syria. At the same time Lily learns of a Nazi plot to kidnap and kill the eight-year old King Faisal of Iraq and take over Iraq.Now, Lily and Gideon must act to protect the Trans-Jordan pipeline, sabotage the Syrian line, and rescue Faisal to prevent the Nazi takeover of Iraq.
A beautifully descriptive and mysterious novel, The Scorpion’s Bite by Aileen G. Barron is a definite page-turner. WWII is waging on when two archeologists, Gideon Weil and Lily Samson, along with photographer Klaus Steiner set out on an archeological mission from the OSS to survey Trans-Jordan, or so they are lead to believe. Then one morning their Bedouin guide, Qasim ibn Achmad disappears, later to be found murdered and even though Gideon has an airtight alibi, he is arrested. Lily is sheltered and lead through the Nabtean lands by various kind Bedouins to Petra where she is to meet with Colonel John Glubb and learn of her next directive. Gideon, Klaus and Lily are in for more than they bargained for and their very lives may be at stake and the killers have followed them to Azraq but to say more would give the entire novel away. Dr. Barren writes a compelling historical mystery with such extraordinary detail one feels as though one is beside Lily in the desert. The characters, good and evil, are wonderfully detailed, portrayed and realistic in a plot that will keep the reader thoroughly engaged until the last word is read. I highly recommend The Scorpion’s Bite to anyone who is interested in history, WWII, archeology, or merely intrigued by an excellent mystery novel.
For more information about the author, please visit Aileen G. Baron’s website.
I received a complimentary copy of The Scorpion’s Bite by Aileen G. Baron from Poisoned Pen Press for review. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.