Customer Reviews for

Land of Marvels

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    DISTRICT FIVE

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Masterly portraits of "men of industry"

    In the early part of the 20th century many foreign interests intersected in the Middle East. Barry Unsworth sketches with preternatural skill a British archeologist fruitlessly toiling for years over a dig he finds it increasingly difficult to sustain financially. Stress is added by German railroad and American petroleum contractors encroaching on his stake which he is desperate to believe will yield results shortly. The years leading up to the Great War in Europe were prime for many men of industry, particularly for those in petroleum prospecting. Unsworth shares stories of how those times might have looked, using historical events to bracket his imaginings. It is his characterizations of personalities that ring so true—Lord Rampling, the British industrialist who tramples truth “for the glory of the British empire” while being out-deceived by a loping and sun-bleached American engineer who plays representatives from all countries against his own company’s interests. The tension builds to the last pages, when we learn WWI has begun in Europe, and when that storm has passed, the land we’d seen as a large fragment of the disintegrated Ottoman Empire has become something quite new—a vast new country called Iraq, which had never before been home to a single nation. Erudite, stimulating, large in scope and small in detail, this is a novel to restore one’s interest, should it ever flag, in fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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