Sunday, September 13, 2015
The news came last week that a fossil jawbone (from a species related to humans, dubbed “Homo naledi”) may rewrite our understanding of what makes us human. What if researchers made another find, this time one so extraordinary it seemed to validate the ancient extra-biblical book of Enoch, with its vision of mysterious Watchers?
Such is the question addressed in a fast-paced thriller from Stirling City novelist Mary James. “UnFettering Orion” ($6.99 for Amazon Kindle, from Double Dragon eBooks) begins with a graveside service for Sean Archer, an anthropologist working in Lebanon, killed in a horrendous commercial air crash. Ellie Savelle, an expert in Sumerian language, had begun dating Sean when they met each other at the University of Minnesota. Now he was gone.
But then a man named Anthony Graves enters her life. He’s the director of the Archeological Museum of Beirut, Sean’s last employer, and now he offers Ellie a job as well. Sean had been tracing the black market in ancient artifacts when his life was cut short, and he had told Ellie that he thought Graves knew more about this than he admitted. Was he friend or foe?
Ellie takes the job and finds herself in Lebanon. In one of the digs she discovers a metal screw, buried in soil “deep and compacted with no other sign of having been dug.” The question asked by her fellow researcher is one that drives the tale: “How then? How did the screw get buried in a dig that should be from at least 3000 B.C.E.?”
Ellie and her partners in the dig, Helen and Verrill, speculate about a race of giants mentioned in Genesis 6:4 and in Sumerian and Babylonian texts. “One supreme god sent down what appeared to be lesser gods to the Earth, and they had relations with human women that resulted in the giants of those days. Ellie was surprised at how all the stories seemed so similar, but what was the truth?”