An easy-reading thriller & love story hinging on the discovery of ancient Bible manuscripts in the Middle East after the Gulf War. The story is framed by the intrigues of two old men, a Jew & Muslim who stake their lives on a secret scheme in the Negev Desert, hoping for Mideast peace. The plot moves between Israel, Jordan, Leningrad, San Francisco, London, Texas & Seattle, driven by black markets, academic rivalry & a search for the historical Jesus. This tale of maverick scholar Nick Hampton also is a factual look at Bible scholarship, the Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, religion, history & world politics. And it evokes emotions: Hampton becomes caught between two loves, a hometown sweetheart & an enigmatic Russian librarian, who finds early Christian manuscripts in Leningrad. A mysterious trust fund, drug runners, desert Bedouin, a terrorist bombing, & two separated brothers add layers of subplot. Witham is the author of two nonfiction books on contemporary events in religion & an award-winning reporter at a Washington, D.C. newspaper. To order: Meridian Books, P.O. Box 659, College Park, MD 20740. (301) 277-3448.Witham, Larry is the author of 'Negev Project' with ISBN 9780964042803 and ISBN 0964042800.