In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons I set out to read international fiction, a genre I’m not familiar with. Once I began The Bible of Clay, however, I felt a little bit like I was cheating since it’s the kind of book I’ve read a lot of – intrigue, mild thriller, archeological finds, flashbacks to the past, even a Holocaust connection. But since the author, Julia Navarro, is a Spanish journalist, and the story takes place mostly in Iraq and Europe, I decided that it fit for an international fiction book. The bible of clay was supposedly the story of creation as told by Abraham to an unknown scribe. The story was written in cuneiform on clay tablets, hence, the bible of clay. The search for these tablets, which are believed to be in present-day Iraq, is woven throughout the book. While most of the story takes place in the present, there are dips into the past – the more recent past of World War II and the much farther past of the time of Abraham.
In addition to the archeological angle, the story centers on one individual, Alfred Tannenberg, and the people in his life. These people are his granddaughter, business partners, and others he knows nothing about although he is central to their lives.
An interesting twist is that the book takes place just before the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq in March 2003. Because the story is told by someone who is neither American nor British we get a different perspective on the looming war.