The Devil’s Ark
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on an archeological dig in the Middle East during the twenties and thirties? Have you ever wondered where the legends of Lilith first came into being? Have you ever longed to delve into the darkness of a newly uncovered tomb in this strange and exotic locale? Well, thanks to our new friend, Stephen Bywater from England you can lose yourself in the lands, and the times, with his new novel, The Devil’s Ark.
Stephen has been very kind in promoting our resource and in appreciation we would like highlight him, and his work.
“…Bywater has produced a story which more than anything reminded me of an early Hammer film. There is the personal and institutional racism which existed at the time as well as the sexual politics, where women were portrayed as either virgins or whores.
[The Author] uses this Edwardian fear of a woman’s sexuality, to good effect, in his central threat, that which is buried in the ziggurat.”
- Sci-Fi Online
Picture credit ~ http://analogicalplanet.com/
Stephen Bywater joined the merchant navy at sixteen and worked on cargo ships and cruise liners. At twenty-four, and without any A Levels, he started an English degree at the University of North London. After graduating, and University training as an English teacher, he taught in Argentina for two years and El Salvador for one before returning to the UK to complete an M Lit at St Andrews. He now makes his home in Bedford with his wife and two daughters and is the Head of English at Bedford Modern.
He teIls us;
“I started writing when I was at sea; strange autobiographical sketches, a jumble of Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Miller, Dylan Thomas, Hergé, and H P Lovecraft. I have written short pieces for The Times Educational Supplement.”
“Nineveh first enters the historical record in about 1800 BCE as a center of worship of Ishtar, which established the city as an important religious center. It was during the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, particularly from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (ruled 883–859 BCE) onward, that the city witnessed its first great architectural expansion. Thereafter, the monarchs Sargon II, Esarhaddon, Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal established new palaces and temples to Sin, Ashur, Nergal, Samas, Ishtar, and Nabiu of Borsipa. It was Sennacherib, however, who elevated Nineveh to great prominence (c. 700 BCE).”
Insert PIC: Adam Eve and Lilith as the Serpent c.1210ad Notre Dame, Paris [photo. tsparks 2009]
~ Popular Arhaeology.com
Of the book, Ian writes:
“Harry Ward returns to Mesopotamia to join an archaeological dig outside Mosul as its photographer (their first having mysteriously disappeared). The dig has uncovered a ziggurat which lies beyond the walls of the abandoned city of Nineveh. It becomes clear that it is somehow connected to Lilith, Adam’s first wife and the mother of all Succubi. Disturbing dreams torment him and he begins to worry not just about his sanity, but what the expedition is about to uncover. Is the ziggurat merely a temple dedicated to Lilith, or is there something much more disturbing lurking inside?
The Devil’s Ark explores one man’s struggle to come to terms with the horror of the forgotten war in Mesopotamia. It is a story about what lies hidden in the shadows and chillingly pits the quest for sanity against the sway of the night and the supernatural.”
Ninevah Today: The Adad Gate (popular archaeology.com)
Of writing the novel, he goes on to tell;
“I started the novel two years ago. For several years I had been toying with the idea of writing something about Lilith and Iraq. I re-read Polidori’s The Vampyre, several Lovecraft stories and Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia. I also visited her home near Dartmouth (it has a small collection of Assyrian objects unearthed by her husband) and read a number of texts on the fight against the Ottoman Empire during World War One, as well as contemporary accounts about archaeological digs in Mesopotamia / Iraq. I also read Peter Barham’s Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War.
The Devil’s Ark interweaves fact and fiction and it may interest the reader to know where the narrative endeavours to establish links with the past. Nineveh is an ancient city which lies just across the Tigris from Mosul. Its history is well documented and archaeological excavations by the British were carried out during the 1920s.”
The book is published by Headline / Hodder, and is represented on Stephen’s website and is available through Amazon
If you are a fan of the whole Lilith legend, ancient Mesopotamia and it’s Folklore and Mythology… and if you like a bit of a scare with your reading material, do yourself a favour and get hold of this one…!
Copyright: RVL & Stephen Bywater 2014
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