In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
“This excellent third novel by Nichol is perfect for fans of good crime fiction…the characters are solid and the story is really intriguing.”
The Globe & Mail
“Nichol displays a provocative talent for writing that gets under your skin in his most recent novel, Transgression. Death Spiral deepens this rich capacity with stylish and edgy writing to give us a confrontational piece of addictive fiction.”
“Nichol has served up a fast-paced yet nuanced story that explores the cost of war on those who fight it, and demonstrates that the postwar home front was not without its own terrors.”
“…[an] unforgettable story.”
James W. Nichol is author of Midnight Cab which is published in several countries including Germany where it is a best seller with sales in excess of 500,000 copies. It was short listed for the Gold Dagger award in the UK, and won the Canadian Crime Writers Award for the best first novel.
McArthur & Company 2009
Wydawnictwo C&T Poland 2011
A new novel by the bestselling author of Midnight Cab
This complex, multi-layered thriller opens with a glorious hero’s welcome for Wilf McLauchlin, a celebrated Canadian Spitfire fighter pilot who scored 12 “kills” during WWII and miraculously survived his own serious injuries.
Wilf, with a severe limp and only one functioning arm, is broken in body and confused in spirit. Temporarily perched at his father’s law office until he can resume his legal studies, he seems to be a magnet for dark and violent crimes that begin seeping from the small town in the war’s aftermath.
Wilf finds an elderly client dead and frozen in his bath, the victim of an apparent heart attack, revealed as murder. Another gruesome discovery is the bloody body of a transient whose arm has been hacked off. A woman is found gassed in her house, with her young son dead as collateral damage. The man who caused these last two deaths, a family friend of Wilf’s parents, shoots himself when Wilf confronts him.
Is Wilf the common motivating element in all these crimes, as he begins to fear? And what happened to him in Europe during the War? Wilf was shot down in Germany, near Buchenwald, and lost his sight for three months. There are several missing days, from the time of his crash to the time he was found by American soldiers. What happened in those intervening days? Do the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials that are absorbing his father offer insight?
Death Spiral is an engrossing thriller, a literary tour-de-force, and a meditation on the deforming nature of war for aggressors, heroes, and by-standers alike.
James Nichol also is a distinguished playwright and screenwriter whose work has been widely performed. He lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
Short-listed for the 2010 Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award