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The Last Secret of the Temple [Paperback]

Paul Sussman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 May 2005
When the body of hotel owner Piet Jansen is discovered amid the ruins of an archaeological site by the Nile, it looks like a routine investigation for Inspector Yusuf Khalifa. But the more he learns about Jansen, the more he is reminded of the brutal murder, some years earlier, of an Israeli woman at Karnak for which he always suspected the wrong man was convicted. Ignoring the objections of his superiors, Khalifa re-opens the case, but to do so finds he's obliged to team up with bigoted, hard-drinking Israeli detective Arieh Ben Roi. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Palestinian journalist Layla al-Madani receives an anonymous letter. The writer claims to possess information that could radically alter the balance of power in the Middle East and requests her help in contacting Al-Mulatham, a ruthless terrorist leader whom she recently interviewed. In return she is offered the greatest scoop of her career, which, she is told, is intimately connected with the strange medieval manuscript that accompanied the letter. Against a backdrop of escalating violence, Layla follows up the ancient cryptic document while Khalifa and Ben-Roi uncover the unpleasant truth about Piet Jansen. Their investigations take them from ancient Jerusalem, the Crusades and the Cathar Heresy to Vichy France and the Nazi Holocaust. Forced to confront their own prejudices and demons, they unearth the existence of an ancient artefact of such symbolic power that, were it to fall into the wrong hands, it would plunge the Middle East into all-out war. Caught in a desperate race to recover the object before Jewish or Muslim extremist groups claim it as their own, the trail leads Khalifa, Layla and Ben Roi to a hidden cache of looted Nazi treasure. Deep within an abandoned mine in Southern Germany, Khalifa discovers that appearances can be terrifyingly deceptive...

Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (2 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593048776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593048771
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,242,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For as long as I can remember, the two great loves of my life have been writing and archaeology (three if you include travelling in out of the way places, especially deserts). For many years I worked as a field archaeologist in Egypt, notably in Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, and all my novels to a greater or lesser extent draw on my experiences excavating and living in Egypt and the Middle East. My main protagonist, Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor Police, is a composite of a number of people I know, and while his colourful adventures are products purely of my imagination, the world he inhabits is very much a real one. Through Khalifa I try to explore issues such as terrorism, contemporary Middle East politics, religion and government corruption, all against a backdrop of the extraordinary history and archaeological heritage of that part of the world. To find out a bit more about me and my novels, check out my website:

Product Description


"'The intelligent reader's answer to The Da Vinci Code: a big, fat satisfying archaeological puzzle'" (INDEPENDENT)

"Not just a tightly-plotted, richly-observed, thought-provoking thriller, but one with a soul...The compelling mix of tough, page-turning suspense, archaeology, history and characters caught up in the brutal politics of the Middle East, make this a timely and authentic novel. Paul Sussman builds his story with the meticulous strokes of a craftsman...His storytelling comfortably blends historical mystery with unflinching contemporary suspense, all of it told through utterly convincing depictions of setting and character. Inspectors Khalifa and Ben-Roi are heroes of our age: conflicted, harassed, noble and, most crucially, very human. I hope we see more of them very soon." (RAYMOND KHOURY, bestselling author of The Last Templar)

"Another sure fire winner from a gifted storyteller." (STEVE BERRY, bestselling author of The Templar Legacy)

"Sussman's brilliant novel...shines a light into a bloody part of the world, where it is hard to tell enemy from friend, and where ancient debts of pain and murder echo to the present. Here is a thriller on a par with the best literature out there. Challenging, shocking, should be required reading during these harsh times" (JAMES ROLLINS, bestselling author of The Judas Strain)

"'Ambitious, large-scale adventure...Sussman's fastidious research into the novel's setting grants everything a plausibility...his millennia spanning plot functions as a colourful backdrop'" (GOOD BOOK GUIDE) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

Pushing the Dan Brown buttons - a rip-roaring, edge-of-your-seat adventure thriller. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing characters & nice pace - a great read! 11 April 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the second novel in the series by Paul Sussman featuring Detective Inspector Khalifa - the first being 'The Lost Army of Cambyses'. I purchased the two books together and I'm glad I did or else I would have missed out on this great gem! I really didn't enjoy the first book all that much finding the majority of characters so dull I couldn't bring myself to care when their lives were hanging in the balance. The one character that was interesting however was Khalifa who appears again in the second book as the Detective with a moral conscience. It is not necessary to read the books in chronological order as there are only a few passing references to the first book and The Last Secret of the Temple is by far the more superior of the two.

I won't go into what the book is actually about in this review as I think there is enough said about the story in the synopsis and in some of the reviews here but what I will say is that I've not read a book of this type that was this good since I read the Dan Brown's books a few years back. It is very easy to get into and the story does keep you hooked until the end. The book looks at religious conflict, racial prejudices and hatred, morality and power and it deals with these themes effectively without becoming too political or too sentimental. I can't wait for Paul Sussman's next novel and this one is definitely highly recommended!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what doesn't it have? 5 Sep 2006
By Lady K
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I fell willing into the publisher's 'if you loved the Da Vinci Code you'll love this' trap and I'm so glad I did. No disrespect to Dan Brown who wrote a terrific single plot thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed but this is so much more. A complex series of interwoven ideas and characters from ancient Jewish and Christian history to the complexities and moral ambiguity of the current situation in the Middel East it's a heart-thumping, page-turning thriller, with wonderfully imagined,multi dimensional central characters. Well written- literary without being pretentious, good storytelling without dumbing down. If you read nothing else this year you have to read this.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and a page turner! 23 Aug 2006
By Misty
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's not often you get both in the classic 'airport novel' genre, they're usually pretty brainless. This one certainly isn't. Set in the middle east and featuring a mixture of israeli & palestinian characters, i think it does a good job of illustrating the horrors inflicted in both directions without being partisan one way or the other. And the author doesn't let politics interfere with a damn good story, but the way it's interwoven gives pause for thought.

The adventure part itself is well done, not dry and definitely structured to keep you reading (I read it in a day). It has the usual cathar/templar stuff but for a change not really a Christian view point. The main character (egyptian detective) is really well written and easy to imagine as a real person, likewise his counterpart is all too human. The weakest character is the woman who is a bit bland and stereotypical in comparison.

The only other thing i found a bit disappointing and hence 4 not 5 stars was the twist which i thought wasn't needed and wasn't convincing with the character it involved

However if you like the Da vinci code you will definitely like this, and i am looking forward to reading the first book by the same author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it 23 Jan 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Egypt's Valley of the Kings a body is found, kicking off a series of events and discoveries for chain-smoking Egyptian detective Yusuf Khalifa. As he delves deeper into the dead man's background, Khalifa realises that there is more to the case than at first meets the eye. The story veers from the invasion of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD to the suicide bombings and inter-racial hatred of present-day Israel, in search of an ancient artefact that could send the Middle East up in flames.

Paul Sussman's second book is hard to get into. The fragmentation of the first part, as Sussman sets the scene from the viewpoints of several protagonists, almost lets the book down before it's really gotten off the starting blocks. But stick with it. From the moment the various characters meet and piece together the mystery bit by bit, the pace starts to hot up, leading to a triple crisis at the end and a superb cliffhanger in the final moments.

The publishers have used a quote from the Independent newspaper's reviewer for the cover of the paperback edition of the book : "The intelligent reader's answer to The Da Vinci Code". I guess this is referring to the depth of the background geographical, political, emotional and psychological scenery that goes along with the "explosive" plot, a depth clearly missing from Dan Brown's massive bestseller.

Or perhaps it simply means that all is not as it seems, and therein lie a number of explosions not caused by concealed explosives belts or underground arsenals.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent but with weaknesses in the plot 23 Jun 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Last Secret of the Temple, Paul Sussman's follow-up to Lost Army of the Cambyses, is another thriller set in the contemporary Middle East and, like its predecessor, deals with the historical, political and religious turmoil that has gripped the region since the earliest times.
Once again the lead role is taken by Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Egyptian police force, who, except for his nationality and Islamic faith, is in all other ways an everyman cop and a fine detective. He is an engaging and human presence and forms the moral centre to the story. He also initiates events with his investigation into the death of a elderly European man at an achaeological site near Luxor. From this apparently minor event spins a tale that takes in Egypt, Israel, France and Germany and reveals a secret that dates back to pre-Christian times.
Caught up in it all are two new central characters, Israeli detective Arieh Ben Roi and English/Palestinian Journalist Layla al-Madani. Working both individually and together they uncover a conspiracy that dates back three thousand years but threatens to have a profound & tragic impact on the present. In doing so they and Kalifa come into contact with an extensive and colourful cast of supporting characters on all sides.
As with The Lost Army, Sussman uses the story he has crafted to focus on contemporary Middle Eastern politics; with particular attention to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That he manages to do so and remain comparatively bipartisan is to his credit. Other books dealing with the same subject in a similar fashion often end up coming down on one side or the other, giving a skewed and distorted view of the situation there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Confusing
The book started off being very interesting and informative although I must say I soon became lost in all the religions and their issues. Read more
Published 1 month ago by judy scrivener
5.0 out of 5 stars a cracking story set against a fascinating background
This is a gripping mystery with a lot of twists and turns in the plot, some of them not easily foreseeable - near the end it got hard to put down! Read more
Published 2 months ago by tangerina
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad!
It was OK but it lacked good action links. Characters were half believable but the plot gave a mixed up impression of where their loyalties existed - originally thought to be a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nick
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Thriller
The author has his finger on the pulse of the Middle East. The characters are well developed and believable, the plot is complex, but worth the effort, and the insights into the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by William Cardwell
5.0 out of 5 stars I love these books,Excellent reading,Place me into a more relaxing...
The time spend reading this book was worth, removing all the frustration in my life and the constant noise I did not need to hear, thank you for the best customer services, the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Marsha Sandy-Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars P.Sussman.
Chosen because I loved one of his other thrillers. It's good to read a book that has a subject that the author is an authority on. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Arlette Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars great thriller
Plenty of twists and characters get good profiles to suck you in,would not hesitate in buying more of pauls books.
Published 7 months ago by styxxx
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK
I bought this for my husband, I haven'y read it myself, however he found it a bit implausible and not as good as The Labyrinth of Osiris.
Published 7 months ago by Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars PAUL SUSSMAN
Absolutely brilliant read. Great pity this author is no longer with us and is a great loss.

Page turning novel.
Published 8 months ago by Linda
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
Story line is interwoven well with discriptive narrative giving a lot of depth. All in all a very enjoyable read
Published 9 months ago by Mallit
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