All Our Broken Idols by Paul M M Cooper

All Our Broken Idols

Paul M M Cooper

This is the story of Katya, a British-Iraqi archaeologist, who ends up in a precarious situation during the IS attacks on Mosul in 2014, and Aurya, a young woman in Ninivé in 640 BC. I love how their stories come together in this lively historical novel. It’s both thrilling and informative at the same time.


'I know what you did,' he said, his voice high and strangled. Aurya paused.
'What's that?'
'I saw you,’ Nebo-Pishtim said. 'Last night, out near the pit.'
And Aurya realised what it was, that strange look in his eyes. He was afraid. She watched him, her whole body numb. She tried to keep her face calm.
'We weren't out by the pit. You imagined it.'
'I was throwing out our old matting,' he said. 'I hid when I saw you. "Sharo," you said. "Sharo, help me do it".'
Aurya grabbed Sharo's hand and turned to walk down to the boats.
'You're a liar,' she said, trying to control the pitch of her voice.
'I'm going to tell everyone,' Nebo-Pishtim shouted after her.
She kept on walking without looking back, feeling the ground suddenly unstable beneath her feet, her whole body alive with fear. 'I'm going to tell everyone what you did!'

  • The Dig by John Preston
  • The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips
  • The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim

Books with similar mood

The Boy Who Could See Demons

Carolyn Jess-Cooke

The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times

Xan Brooks

Before I Go To Sleep

S J Watson

The Known World

Edward Jones

Once Again Assembled Here

Sean O'Brien

As Though She Were Sleeping

Elias Khoury

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Matthew Green

The Ghost Writer

John Harwood


J M Morris

The Lost Souls' Reunion

Suzanne Power

Living Nowhere

John Burnside

The Valparaiso Voyage

Dermot Bolger

Sunset Oasis

Bahaa Taher


Hasan Ali Toptas

From Darkest Skies

Sam Peters

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

The Girl in the Red Coat

Kate Harmer

Nowhere People

Paulo Scott

The Pleasures of Men

Kate Williams

Bad Blood

Rhiannon Lassiter


Alicia Erian

The Masquerade

Nicholas Griffin

Bold as Love

Gwyneth Jones

My Lover's Lover

Maggie O'Farrell

My Name is Salma

Fadia Faqir


Francine Toon

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong


Edan Lepucki


Ahmet Altan

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes

Pretty Little Dead Things

Gary McMahon

The Quiet Twin

Dan Vyleta

The Blue Manuscript

Sabiha Al Khemir

A Whistling Woman

A S Byatt


Karin Slaughter

Red Dust

Gillian Slovo

Tirzah and the Prince of Crows

Deborah Kay Davies

Waking Lions

Ayelet Gunder-Goshen

The Good Liar

Nicholas Searle

The Explorer

James Smythe

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man

Nick Dybek

The Secrets of the Lazarus Club

Tony Pollard

Black Hole

Charles Burns

The Accomplice

Kathryn Heyman


Jed Mercurio

The New Wilderness

Diane Cook

The Wall

John Lanchester

Pig's Foot

Carlos Acosta

See What I Have Done

Sarah Schmidt