Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(Book Blog Tour) The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntosh (Review+Interview+Giveaway)

Genre:Adult, Mystery, Adventure
Publication.Date  June 7th 2011
Published By:  Penguin Canada
WebsiteThe Mesopotamian Trilogy
The Witch of Babylon - Goodreads
My review copy:ARC provided by the publisher *Thank you!!*
Where to get: Penguin Canada | Amazon | Chapters

     The Witch of Babylon features John Madison, a New York art dealer caught up in the aftermath of the looting of the Baghdad Museum. It includes an elaborate puzzle that must be solved in order to locate a missing biblical antiquity and a spectacular lost treasure, as well as alchemy, murder, and the Mesopotamian cult of Istar. Alternating between war-torn Baghdad and New York, with forays into ancient Mesopotamian culture, The Witch of Babylon takes readers deep inside the world of Assyriology and its little-known but profound significance for the modern world.

     The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntosh is an exhaustively researched page-turner about ancient myths, precious artifacts, alchemy and hidden treasures. The originality of the plot, amazingly accurate research, and ability to catch the reader's interest from the get-go and hold it until the last word in the last sentence of the last page, make D.J McIntosh an exceptional author. I’m truly grateful for the chance to read and review her book!

     John Madison is a 32-year-old Turkish-American art dealer from New York. He lost his parents in a mining accident at the age of 3 and was raised by his much older brother, Samuel, who helped John get started in the art business. When we meet Madison for the first time he is recovering from a car accident in which he lost his brother.  Before his tragic death, Samuel made a sensational discovery.  During his stay in Iraq he found an ancient artifact of great significance. This stone tablet is one of the greatest finds in all of Iraqi history. Protecting it became an obsession for Samuel. To save it from looters he smuggled it out of Iraq into the US.  After Samuel’s death the artifact was stolen by his childhood friend, Hall Vanderlin. Before Hall managed to sell it, he was murdered. Now, John Madison finds himself caught in a deadly game staged by Hall. To save his life, he must solve the puzzle and find the tablet. With members of Alchemy Archives, a deadly secret society, pursuing him, John Madison is about to set out on a dangerous, yet fascinating journey through time and space. 

     The Witch of Babylon is a great book for a number of reasons. It’s a very engaging and entertaining yet essentially light read. It’s also filled with fascinating bits of information about the history of Iraq and a myriad of other related topics including art, Mesopotamian mythology and religious symbols and ideas. 

     D.J. McIntosh mastered the art of suspense and action thriller. Thanks to her extensive and impressive knowledge, this action-packed story has a fabulous historical and mythological background. What I liked the most, though, was the way McIntosh managed to skillfully intertwine all the myths and historical facts into the plot, creating a perfectly balanced novel. Thanks to her smooth writing style the information we were given throughout the novel did not come across as boring or overwhelming. 

     In the end, The Witch of Babylon became an obsession, a book I couldn’t put down because it intrigued me so. It is a brain teaser, a book that engages the mind in a quest to figure out the codes and solve the puzzles before the characters do. It fueled my curiosity to know more about both the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia and the modern-day Iraq. I found myself absolutely engrossed in the plot, after all, who doesn’t like solid mystery novels involving a treasure hunt? I admit, in the beginning I wasn’t very fond of the main protagonist, but overtime, as I learned more about him and his past, he kind of grew on me and I now can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the Mesopotamian Trilogy.

     The bottom-line is, anyone with an interest in ancient history and mythology will enjoy this book. It’s a fantastic mystery novel comparable to Dan Brown’s bestsellers. Go get yourself a copy, you won’t regret it!

And now, my beloved readers, it's time for an interview with the fabulous writer! Please give a warm welcome to D.J. McIntosh!

E: Evie
D.J: D.J. McIntosh

E: Welcome to Bookish D.J! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
DJ: Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest. I guess I could say I’m a Toronto grandmother
who didn’t listen to good advice. Most writers are warned not to quit their day job but I left my profession as a city planner to start a new writing career when I was in my fifties. I spend summers at my cottage on the Bruce peninsula, winters in Toronto and head for New York City any chance I can get.
E: Who or what inspired you to write The Witch of Babylon?
DJ: “The Witch” as we like to call her, was born out of the juxtaposition of my research on ancient Mesopotamia and the advent of the Iraq war in 2003. Reading about the destruction of legendary cities like Ur and Nineveh and seeing the same looting and pillaging being played out on TV screens. It was as if nothing had changed in 4000 years of human history.
E: Do you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write your book?
DJ: Six years
E: Mythology plays an important role in the story. Is it one of your passions or did you have to spend much time in research?
DJ: I’d say both. I like to write about myths and famous tales that everyone knows but give them a new twist. A fundamental element in my writing is that myth is based at some point in the past on a real event, but over time, it’s meaning and interpretation change. I spent many years doing the research and of course with a novel, you only get to include a small percentage of that.
E: The Witch of Babylon is the first book in a Mesopotamian Trilogy featuring John Madison, a New York art dealer. Can you give us a little sneak-peek of what the next books are going to be about?
DJ: We’ve called it a trilogy because I see the three books as more like three volumes of one work rather than a traditional series. In the next book Madison hunts for a lost seventeenth century manuscript and the truth about an ancient Babylonian demon. In Book Three, in a quest to find Satan’s throne, Madison discovers the real origin of angels.
E: What authors inspire you? Do you have any literary role models?
DJ: I guess I would say both humbled and inspired by great writers. There are so many that I love. In my genre – antiquity thrillers – no one comes close to Umberto Eco (Name of the Rose) or Arturo Perez Reverte (Club Dumas). I adore Robert Harris (The Ghost) and Cormack McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses).
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
DJ: I’m more wedded to my lap top than a particular place. It’s my constant companion. When I brilliantly dumped water on my last one and ruined it, I nearly had a nervous breakdown!
E: Which three of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
DJ:  Oh I just love this question. Is there anything better than being able to share one’s favourite books? I’ll stay away from the classics like Tolkien and Dune because so many people have already read them. For tremendous suspense and great writing, I’d recommend Jeff Long’s “The Wall.” For a wonderfully dense read that you just want to curl up and devote yourself to, read Michael Cox’s “The Meaning of Night.” And for a fabulous take on the Jane Eyre story, try “The Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rys.
E: Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?
DJ: I’m totally addicted to rock/blues guitar, and enjoy going to live performances. Writing The Witch brought me in touch with Arabic-fusion music which I’ve grown to love. I swim and hike a lot at the cottage.
Random Questions:

- white or dark chocolate? Dark, darker, darkest!
- coffee or tea? Never miss my afternoon tea break!
- sunset or sunrise? Is there really a sunrise? I’m a confirmed night owl.
- favorite fictional character?  This is too hard. How does one choose? Guess I’d say both Le Carre’s George Smiley and his alter ego Hani Salaam, the head of Jordan’s secret service in “Body of Lies” by David Ignatius.
-ebook or printed copy? I stare at a computer screen all day so I’m still wedded to the printed page for reading pleasure before I turn in for the night

D.J, thank you so much for joining us today! 
It was a great honor for me to read and review your book and I can't thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today! 
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next books!

 Blog Tour Stops 
(make sure to visit them all!)


And here's a little surprise for you, my readers! Since I LOVED The Witch of Babylon, I decided I want to share a copy of this fantastic book with one lucky reader. I am not giving away my own ARC, na-ah, too precious! I will, however, buy a copy on Amazon and send it to whoever wins this giveaway.

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
Contest runs until July 5th, 2011
To enter you need to be a GFC follower of my blog. No PO Boxes this time, please~!

Here's the form:


sawcat said...

I saw this on the Goodreads first reads I think it was, and it sounded fascinating. Now I'll definitely have to pick it up after your review.

Ricki said...

Definitely sounds like a great start to what looks to be a unique trilogy.

Darlene said...

Sounds like a great read! I'd love to win it!

Giada M. said...

WOW! This book sounds really GOOD! Thank you for the review, interview and giveaway! :D

BrittanyGale said...

Sounds like a great book! I look forward to reading it.

AliPeli said...

Sounds like a great book! I look forward to reading it.

buddyt said...

This sounds like a good read so I am going to enter the giveaway.

Thanks for opening it to worldwide entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Birgit said...

Ohhh, I love speculative fiction that touches into history and archeology! This is the first time I hear about the book, so thanks for this great interview!

Carina Olsen said...

This book sounds awesome! I would love to win it :)
Love, Carina

Only Books said...


ArtemisG said...

The Witch of Babylon sounds great. Very beautiful trailer!

Geo. said...

This is great,i hope i`ll get read it!
Thank you for the giveaways!They`re simply awesome!

Literary Chanteuse said...

This looks good! I love those type of mysteries that include history. I'm quite a history fan. Thanks for the giveaway!


Luvdaylilies said...

This looks like a fanastic read!
Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

Anonymous said...

I love reading antiquity thrillers too! The ones I have read so far have been very interesting, as I got to find out a lot more about the history of a certain place or time that I didn't know much about. I don't think I've read any books focusing on Babylonian history, and the word 'Witch' in the title intrigues me! :)

Thanks for the giveaway, Evie! <3

Sofia said...

After your review, this is going on my wishlist for sure! :)

Dovile said...

Thanks for making this open internationally!

Carol N Wong said...

This is exactly what I love, a well researched page turner!!!Thank you for the review, intereview and the promo video. Think I will watch it again. Think this is a must read. I am familiar with Arabic music but not Arabic fusion music. Will have to check that out.

Thanks for this interenational giveway!!!!


Ann Summerville said...

Sounds good - thanks for posting this.

IdentitySeeker said...

This is my first exposure to this book and I'm fascinated by the author's dedication in taking 6 years to write this book. It must really be a great read! I hope to read it soon:)

Gigi said...

Sounds good! Thank you so so much for the giveaway!!

Dinda said...

Sounds like good book.

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the interview. Great insight.


Gabbie said...

I LOVE anything to do with Ancient History so thank you thank you thank you for introducing me to The Witch of Babylon!

Misha said...

Like the author, I loved Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night. Great interview and review!

Natasha Areena said...

Glad you enjoyed this one!I think I’m going to give it a shot too.

ioana97 said...

Sounds like a great read!Great interview and review!

Karen said...

Sounds really interesting, thanks!

kpuleski at gmail dot com

Krystal Larson said...

I put this on my to-reads list on Good Reads :) Thank you! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom GFC Krystal Larson

mariska said...

YAY ! a new book from a new author to-me author ;)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Andra Lyn said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Kulsuma said...

Great giveaway! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The book sounds amazing.


RRoxana said...

Thanks for giveaway! >:D<

Amanda said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Sounds like a great book

Dinky said...

Great interview! The Witch of Babylon sounds great, thanks for the giveaway! :)

WickedWillow said...

Wonderful interview and thanks for the giveaway!

Mary Preston said...

'The Witch of Babylon' looks amazing. Wonderful giveaway thank you.


Unknown said...

This book looks interesting!

Linda: Book Ninja said...

5 stars! I can't believe it took her six years to write the book.

Janhvi said...

sounds like a good read!!
i'm looking forward to reading this!

Novels On The Run said...

Great !! Interview. 6 years to write the book...wow!

I want to read it based on her heart going into writing it and not giving up.

michelle auricht

Julie S said...

I love mythology so this book sounds really interesting!

Harpreet Singh said...

This was a very interesting interview! I enjoyed reading it! 6 years is a long time to write a book, that probably means that it's just that much better! Thanks so much for this great opportunity! :D


Sofija Kapranova said...

Thanks for an opportunity to win it!!!

Courtney Wyant said...

I just like to blog hop and happened eto come across this one.... Nice giveaway

Jana said...

Sounds great! Thank you so much for the chance to win!

Simčila said...

This author is really nice :) Her answers are perfect and I am really curious what will be in the book :) And history... oh, I love history so much! :) Thank you for giveaway witch this book :)

SweetShenanigans said...

Wow, after reading the interview this seems like something i'd love to try out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review! It sounds like a great book!

aurora M. said...

The cover is a turn off for me but I might have to put on TBR list. Thanks for the inside look for this book.

Krystal Larson said...

Yay for dark chocolate! And this book looks good, I'll check out the reviews on Good Reads too :)

therainhouse said...

Really enjoyed the interview with DJ.

I love mythology.

FairyWhispers said...

sounds very dan brown kinda thing

Munnaza said...

This book sounds like a definite page turner, and your interview was absolutely fantastic. I love that you focused on the mythology behind the story (I love anything to do with myths, so this definitely appealed to me as a reader), and I always love hearing about how and where authors do their writing, and if the location certainly matters or makes a difference. Your random questions at the end of the interview were incredibly fun as well, and I definitely feel the same way about reading printed books instead of ebooks. Great post!

Jaime Lester said...

This sounds great. Da Vinci Codesque, I think. I love puzzles, trying to figure out the whodunit and figuring out cryptic messages. I think I might just like this book!

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