The Last Testament
by Sam Bourne
Harper Collins 2009 (USA & Canada)
First published in UK - 2007
This novel is also set in Israel but this one is MUCH more realistic. It involves both Israelis and Palestians working together and shooting each other to find the truth.
After the US illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Baghdad Museum of Antiqities was looted and a large number of important artifacts were stolen. This novel is about one small clay tablet that was stolen. This small clay tablet is probably imaginery just for this story.
Anyway the tablet is smuggled to UK and then smuggled back to Israel. Artifacts currently missing from Iraq are hot (stolen) and are not permitted to be sold. They must be sent back to Iraq.
Maggie Costello, a UN peace negotiator, is called in to try and calm the two sides as the killings increase. As Maggie is sucked into the search for this tablet, local archaeologists around her are killed - both palestinian and jewish. The tablet was hidden by a jewish archaelogist who is killed in the first chapter. Maggie and his son are left to follow his clues to find the tablet's hiding place before they are killed by the extremists who do not want the tablet to see the light of day.
What is the importance of this tablet? It was written in cuneiform writing - the language of the sumerians. It mentions three names - Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael.
It is effectively the last will and testament of Abraham - the founder of the 3 religions of the Book. He notes that his sons are fighting over their home and so he gifts Mount Moriah to the children of Isaac and Ishmael to be shared equally by all the descendents.
This is explosive news because Jerusalem is built on Mount Moriah. Isaac was the father of the Jews and Ishmael was the father of the Arabs. They must now find a way to share their home and stop fighting over it.
The last scene in this book is the leader of the PLO and the Prime Minister of Isarel in a room with one negotiator - Maggie Costello.