Third in the Lily Sampson series, The Scorpion’s Bite is another archaeological thriller written by Aileen G. Baron. As in Baron’s novel, The Torch of Tangier, Lily is the archaeologist who is purposely placed by the OSS in the Middle East during World War II to do more than dig around ruins.
Lily’s job is to perform an archaeological survey of Trans-Jordan amid assassination plots and battles over oil. Behind the scenes, Lily and her associate, Gideon Weil, are called upon to protect the Trans-Jordan pipeline and sabotage the pipeline that ran through Syria and delivered oil to the Axis.
As if those tasks weren’t enough to keep them busy, they’re also directed to prevent the assassination of King Faisal, the eight-year old King of Iraq. The Scorpion’s Bite takes a piece of history and turns it in to a spellbinding novel based on real events.
The Scorpion’s Bite takes place in the turbulent year of 1943, when the world is very much engaged in war. The place is the eerie and vast Trans-Jordanian desert – where Lawrence of Arabia once roamed and ruins are left behind from an empire once ruled by the ancient Nabateans.
Lily and her archaeologist associate, Gideon Weil, become stranded deep within the Wadi Rum when their Bedouin guide is suddenly and mysteriously murdered. Their plight becomes even more complicated when Weil is accused of the murder and Lily must struggle to clear his name.
When Baron began the research for the third book in her series, she found that there had been two oil pipelines during World War II that supplied the Allies with much needed oil. This pipeline ran through Haifa – the other pipeline directed oil to the Axis and went through Tripoli.
Baron also found that there was a real Axis plot to kill the young King of Iraq so that they could easily take over the oil fields while the area was in turmoil. Another historical truth in The Scorpion’s Bite is that there was an archaeologist named Nelson Glueck who performed an archaeological survey for the OSS.
Aileen G. Baron actually completed the Negev Survey that Glueck had begun for her dissertation and modeled her character, Gideon Weil, after this legendary archeologist. Glueck was once featured on the cover of Time Magazine for his incredible and event-changing work in the Middle East.
The Scorpion’s Bite is based on real and historical events. Aileen G. Baron is a former archeologist and professor who knows her stuff and has taken great pains to research places and events in her book to make sure they’re true and accurate.