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Cover image for The last ember
The last ember


Publication Information:
New York : Riverhead Books, 2009.
Physical Description:
418 pages : map ; 24 cm
General Note:
Map on endpapers.
Jonathan Marcus, a young American lawyer and a former doctoral student in classics, has become a sought-after commodity among antiquities dealers, but when he is summoned to Rome to examine a client's fragment of an ancient stone map, he stumbles across a startling secret: a hidden message carved inside the stone itself. The discovery propels him on a perilous journey from the labyrinth beneath the Colosseum to the biblical-era tunnels of Jerusalem in search of a hidden 2,000-year-old artifact sought by empires throughout the ages.--From publisher's description.


Call Number

On Order



A search for a priceless artifact stolen from the Second Temple in Jerusalem becomes a race against time, terrorism, politics, and the past. Jonathan Marcus is a promising young archeologist studying at the American Academy in Rome when a terrible accident results in a fellow student¿s death and Jonathan¿s expulsion. He abandons archeology for the law, becoming a skillful advocate for unscrupulous antiquities dealers. When Jonathan¿s firm sends him to Rome to discredit the testimony of a prominent U.N. antiquities official, a chance reunion leads to a hunt for the legendary Tabernacle Menorah: solid gold, eight feet high, stolen 2,000 years ago and never recovered. As Jonathan and his friend scour Rome¿s ancient sites for hints to its whereabouts, they quickly realize they are not alone and the precious menorah is a key to controlling history itself.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Da Vinci Code addicts will enjoy Levin's debut, a dense, complicated novel of religious suspense. Jonathan Marcus, classics scholar-turned-lawyer, is sucked back into his former life in archeology after becoming involved in an antiquities theft case his law firm is handling. A few minutes in the presence of a chunk of the ancient Roman Forum and a reunion with an old girlfriend from his student days, Dr. Emili Travia, and Jonathan is ready to cast off his three-piece suit and return to unearthing ancient subterranean mysteries. The prize this time is the 2,000-year-old Tabernacle menorah, eight feet of solid gold stolen from Herod's Temple in Jerusalem and hidden somewhere in Rome. The forces of evil are represented by Sheik Salah ad-Din, who seeks to find and destroy the menorah. The fevered pace slows only to deliver a multitude, perhaps too much of a multitude, of interesting historical factoids. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In Levin's (daniellevin.com) intelligent and dynamic debut thriller, classics scholar-turned-lawyer Jonathan Marcus is drawn into a search for the legendary Tabernacle Menorah via his firm's representation of an unscrupulous antiquities dealer. The set for this highbrow Indiana Jones-style adventure, whose pace is slowed only by the multitude of fascinating factoids, includes the Holy Land's most volatile shrine and Rome's Colosseum. Jeff Woodman voices Italian, Jewish, and Arab characters with ease, though his rendering of Emili Travia, Marcus's romantic interest, lacks consistency and authenticity. Recommended despite this quibble.-Sandy Glover, Camas P.L., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.