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Great Archaeological Mysteries Books

Updated on February 17, 2014

Some Of The Best Archaeological Mysteries - Starting With My Latest Book Read

If you like archaeological mysteries, here I have a few great ones for you reviewed. These types of novels are in fact some of my favorites ever. They usually includes riddles to decipher, mysteries to solve, great descriptions of archaeological sites and a glimpse into a world unknown for the most of us.

If I were young again, I would go to a college where I could learn archaeology, however as there were no courses related to this subject in the college when I graduated, I am left with simply reading about it and dreaming...

Dreaming about exotic places, past times long gone by, following the steps of ancient leaders who were buried surrounded by their treasures, about a light slant on the mystical and esoteric, about strong female archaeologists who

The Last Secret Of The Temple by Paul Sussman

discover and uncover the past.

Come along on a ride with me to reach some of these worlds through the books I've read (or are on my wishlist to 'buy soon'). If you have read archaeological books that are not on this list, feel free to let me know the titles in the Guestbook below (open to anyone, not only to members of this site).

The Latest Archaeological Mystery I've Read

My Copy Of The Lost Army Of Cambyses

My Copy Of The Lost Army Of Cambyses
My Copy Of The Lost Army Of Cambyses

The Lost Army Of Cambyses - by Paul Sussman

I've just finished reading the first book ever written by Paul Sussman, The Lost Army Of Cambysses, and I have to say I was very impressed. I've reviewed further below the second book written by this author - and my first book ever read from him called The Last Secret Of The Temple, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't leave me with such an impact as The Lost Army Of Cambyses.

The book starts with a punch, it engages you right from the beginning, and while the book is quite big at about 600 pages, it doesn't even one boring page. It really kept me on my toes throughout.

I love archaeological mysteries, and Paul Sussman managed to bring the past and the present very well together in this suspense novel. For example what does a badly mutilated body have together with a antiquity store owner who was also murdered and a British archaeologist who apparently died of a suicide? And was it a suicide in the first place? And what does all this have to do with a long lost Greek army hundreds of years ago?

I really enjoy the character of detective Khalifa, a kind person who has to juggle his job at the police station with his family life. He loves dearly his wife and kid, but more often than not he has to choose his job first and family second.

Tara Mullray, the daughter of the British archaeologist comes to Egypt to meet her father and discovers him deal in his home at the archaeological dig where he was currently working. She then stumbles unto some clues that lead her and her ex-boyfriend, another archaeologist, to find an object that is so coveted that many would - and do - kill for mercilessly.

I don't want to spoil the plot, but let's just say that if you do like books about archaeology, history and a good crime thriller, you will really enjoy reading The Last Cambyses by Paul Sussman.

The Lost Army of Cambyses
The Lost Army of Cambyses

This is the first detective Khalifa novel, followed by The Last Secret Of The Temple, which I have reviewed below.


Want To Know More About The Real Lost Army Of Cambyses?

If you like history, after reading this book you might be interested to learn whether there really was an army of Cambyses or it's just all fiction. Well, it seems that there really was one, and here I have found for you a few relevant links where you can read more about it. Quite interesting read.

The Last Secret of the Temple - by Paul Sussman

The Last Secret Of The Temple is a great novel that I've recently finished reading. It was also my first book by the (sadly now departed) author Paul Sussman. I was not sure what to expect, however reading some online reviews, I've learned that it is, indeed, an archeological mystery, one of my favorite genres! Once the book came through the post, I couldn't wait to start reading it.

Fast forward about a week. Having read it, here is my review of the book. First of all, it is a mystery with an archeological slant. It is also a novel about hidden and buried treasures, about something so terrible that it could change the world the way we see it now (Dan Brown anyone?)

The book is huge, and I mean really big - it has around 700 tightly written pages. Until up to about page 100, I was not impressed. The Prologue was awesome, but starting from the first chapter, the steam was just not there. I almost gave up on the book, but something pushed me forward to continue reading.

And glad I did. The pace picked up, and it then went on right until the shocking last page when the mystery was revealed. I don't want to give away the plot, but basically the novel touches on the far past of Jerusalem when the Romans destroyed Holy Temple during the times of the Cathars, where an important religious relic was saved and hidden away for centuries. Then we go forward to the Nazi times when the treasure is found and hidden again by the Germans. Fast forward to the modern times of today.

Here we get slightly involved in the Palestine/Israeli conflict, and we get to see the world through the eyes of an Egyptian police detective, Yusuf Khalifa (who is also the main character in other novels by the same author), and through the eyes of a Palestinian journalist Layla, who is trying to do right by her father, who has been slained many years ago right in front of her. And through the eyes of an Israeli policeman, Arieh Ben-Roi, a slight overweight man who has suffered greatly as well when his fiancé was killed just a few years ago by the Palestinians.

The book is truly amazing, and I'm glad I have read it. Once you get past the first 100 or so pages, the pace is really fast and furious, the plot keeps thickening and the twists and turns keep coming faster than you can anticipate them. It is more than just a mystery, it is a real thriller.

It reads like the popular Dan Brown books, especially the Da Vinci Code, but I think this one is even better. I also got a hint of James Rollins (another favorite author of mine), and I even get a flash of Indiana Jones along the times.

All in all, I have to heartily recommend this book. It's great, it reads well, it has relatively short chapters which keep the attention going, and it gives you a glimpse of a few worlds that we are usually not privy to.

The Last Secret of the Temple
The Last Secret of the Temple

Right now you can find the book in paperback and Kindle editions. There are also the hardcover and audio versions available from third party sellers at Amazon. When you click through, you can choose the version that suits you most.


You Will Enjoy Reading The Last Secret Of The Temple If You

* Enjoy reading archaeological themed novels

* Love history

* Have fun solving riddles

* Love fast paced books

* Prefer thrillers to cozies

* Love reading about finding Nazi treasures and bringing them to light

* Enjoy reading political themed books dealing with international crises

About Paul Sussman, The Author Of The Last Secret Of The Temple

First the bad news. Paul Sussman passed away in 2012 suffering from a ruptured aneurysm. He was born in 1968 and during his lifetime he wrote 4 archaeological mystery novels:

* The Lost Army of Cambyses in 2002 (the book I am currently reading)

* The Last Secret Of The Temple in 2005 (the book reviewed above)

* The Hidden Oasis in 2009

* The Labyrinth of Osiris in 2012, published just after to his death.

He was also an archaeologist and The Independent wrote about his novels as being "the intelligent reader's answer to the Da Vinci Code".

More Great Archaeological Mysteries

More archaeological mystery novels to catch up to

The Elizabeth Peters Novels

with the Amelia Peabody mysteries

When it comes to archaeological mysteries, the first name that usually pops into our minds is Elizabeth Peters, with her famous Amelia Peabody series. I have read them all and they are great if you like books with archaeological stories and cozy mysteries. They are not hardcore thrillers like the book I reviewed above. You won't find descriptions of gruesome killings that are rated PG 15. You'll find an enchanting character, great mysteries that will delight your heart and senses.

There are currently 19 Amelia Peabody novels , with the latest one published in 2010. I have read the first 10 (the rest are on my 'to be read' list) and while cozy mysteries are not exactly my genre, the fact that they are archaeological books, I really enjoyed them. You can check them out below if you haven't got hold of them yet.

Amelia Peabody Mysteries 1-5

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)
Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)

This is the first Amelia Peabody archaeological mystery, first published in 1975. It is the start of a wonderful series featuring Amelia is a Egyptologist at the beginning of the 20th century, a fearless woman who is ready for excitement and adventure.

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, Book 2)
The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, Book 2)

The second book in the popular Amelia Peabody series was published in 1981. In this novel Sir Henry Baskerville found a tomb, however the died under strange circumstances. Amelia and her husband Radcliffe Emerson have to continue his archaeological work.

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody)
The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody)

The third book was published in 1985. By now it has become one of the best archaeological mystery series of all times.

Here Amelia, her husband Radcliffe and their child Ramses (he speaks 5 languages!) are onto another journey, one that could cost Amelia her life.

Lion in the Valley: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)
Lion in the Valley: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)

Book 4 was published in 1986. In this installment the adorable family have to dig the famous burial chamber of the Black Pyramid in Dahshur. A dig that proves anything but boring...

The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody Mysteries) (Amelia Peabody Series)
The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody Mysteries) (Amelia Peabody Series)

The fifth book in the Amelia Peabody series was published in 1986.

If curses could least that's what everyone believes when the body of a night watch in the British Museum is found. Everyone except Amelia, of course...


Amelia Peabody Mysteries 6-10

The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, Book 6)
The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, Book 6)

Book 6 in the Amelia Peabody series was published in 1991.

One of my favorite books in the series as it involves retracing the steps of friends who have disappeared years ago while searching for a lost civilization.

The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, Book 7)
The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, Book 7)

Book 7 was published in 1992. This book deals with the kidnapping of Amelia's husband, her struggle to find him and saving her marries as well when Emerson gets amnesia from a blow to his head and can't even remember who Amelia is!

The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, Book 8)
The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, Book 8)

Book 8 was published in 1996. It deals with finding the tomb of Queen Tetisheri, one of the greatest discoveries of the centuries. But there are those who want the treasures for themselves and shy from nothing to get them even if it costs other people their lives.

Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, Book 9)
Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, Book 9)

The next novel saw the date of publication as 1997. Here we find a mummy which turns out to not be that old in the first place. Can Amelia find who killed the poor person and why?

The Ape Who Guards the Balance: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)
The Ape Who Guards the Balance: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)

I just love these titles that leave you chuckling! This book in the series was published in 1998.


James Rollins Mysteries

I love the books written by James Rollins. They are archaeological mysteries, but more thrillers really. Much more hardcore than the Amelia Peabody series, being closer in genre to the novels by Paul Sussman in style. The James Rollins Sigma series also breaks into another genre, closer to Dan Brown's style, which deals with historical treasures, scientific findings and macabre secrets.

James Rollins has written so far 9 Sigma Force Books, two Order of the Sanguins books and 2 Jake Ransom books. Having read them all, I strongly recommend them. They are truly some of my most favorite archaeological thriller novels to date.

Sandstorm (Sigma Force #1) by James Rollins

Sandstorm (Sigma Force)
Sandstorm (Sigma Force)

Sandstorm was my first ever James Rollins book and it is also the first Sigma Force novel (first published in 2004), starting a wonderful new series dealing with archaeological discoveries, thrilling and horrifying secrets and buried lost cities and catacombs. If you like Indiana Jones stories, you will LOVE this series!

This first book starts with a huge explosion in the Museum of Natural History in London, which starts a chain of events leading to the search oof the lost city of Ubar. The plot is not only intriguing, but it's one of those 'can't stop reading till the last page' type of books. You get a great mixture of mystery, thriller, anthropology, a bit of science and history as well.

Once I read this book. I just had to read the rest in the series, and I'm glad I did - they are awesome! (does it show i'm excited about James Rollins' books?)


More Popular Archaeological Mysteries - Books I have read and can recommend

Here you will find more archaeological mysteries and thrillers that you might find interesting if you like this genre. I have read these books and I can recommend them without hesitation.

River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (Novels of Ancient Egypt)
River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (Novels of Ancient Egypt)

The first book in the Ancient Egypt mysteries by Willbur Smith. I have read these books as well (currently there are 4 in the series) and I can recommend them to any archaeological mysteries fan.

A Rumor of Bones: A Lindsay Chamberlain Mystery
A Rumor of Bones: A Lindsay Chamberlain Mystery

This is another great start of a wonderful archaeological series featuring forensic anthropologist Lindsay Chamberlain. Currently the series includes 5 books.


The Pendergast series is another one that you simply have to read! Next to James Rollins books, this series by the famous duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is my favorite ever. You'll get to know the charming (yet dangerous) FBI agent Pendergast and the series of mysteries happening in the museums and around digs. If you only read a few from this series, make sure you read Relic, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Reliquary and Mount Dragon. You will not be disappointed!

Laughter's Echo
Laughter's Echo

This is a book that I recommend since it takes place in Cyprus, my current place of residence. Cyprus is a country with a rich past, with lots of archaeological digs and with great treasures still to be found. Amazon doesn't have customer reviews on the book, but I recommend you get it and read it. It's great.

The Visitant: Book I of the Anasazi Mysteries
The Visitant: Book I of the Anasazi Mysteries

The start of a great archaeological mystery, this is a roller coaster of a book. It goes back and forth between a dig in the modern times to the past times of the Anasazi. Currently the series has 3 books. I wish there were more, as it's a great mystery series to read.


Do You Prefer Archaeological Cozy Mysteries Or Thrillers?

Do You Prefer Archaeological Cozy Mysteries Or Thrillers?

See results

Do You Have Any Favorite Archaeological Mysteries Not On This List? - Give us some good reading recommendations!

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      I don't have any that come to mind at the moment. Great lens, and I'll stop back in to snag a few titles.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      sound very interesting, will add to my reading list!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My first introduction to this genre was The Amber Room by Steve Berry. I do enjoy reading this type of book from time to time. Thanks for sharing your picks; I'm adding a few to my Goodreads "to-read" shelf. :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I don't think I've read any of these but they sound intriguing!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      These sound great! I love this genre. You might like the Betrayed series I just finished reading too by Carolyn McCray. Congrats on your purple star!

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 

      5 years ago

      I love archaeological mysteries .

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I always thought that I would enjoy studying archaeology, too, and enjoy reading Archaeological Mysteries.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This is a terrific list of possible reading for me. I love mysteries and I love historical these fit right in with that.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Lyn Hamilton has a pretty good series you might want to check out. Thanks for giving me some new authors to try.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      5 years ago

      My husband loves Amelia Peabody! I am so glad I found this list of archeological mysteries so I can surprise him with new books to listen to while he works. He loves audio books by the way.

    • profile image

      dilipchandra12 lm 

      5 years ago

      Absolutely interesting read, thanks for the great share, Liked!

    • NibsyNell profile image


      5 years ago

      Some great recommendations. Thank you!

    • Marja79 profile image


      5 years ago

      I have to ask my sister-in-law if she has any of these books. I know she has Wilbur Smith which I have read as well. She runs a book cafe so she probably has some and this is her favorite genre.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      i love reading books on mystery but din't scratch this surface....i'll definitely read em...

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      Nice review. I never read a book from this genre, but maybe I will give it a try this summer.

    • charteryacht lm profile image

      charteryacht lm 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this lense. I'm interested to read to this I will get one of this in amazon.


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love books of this genre :D thanks for sharing the review

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      It's a new genre for me but I really do enjoy novels which make me want to find out more about history or another country, anything thought provoking.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I do love the mystery genre, but haven't tried archaeological ones. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never read "Archaeological Mysteries" before. So I can not recommend books on the theme of it.

    • RebaC profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never read an archeological thriller before, but this sounds very interesting. I'm putting it at the top of my reading list.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a Books Worth Reading board on Pinterest. I'm pinning this lens, so I'll have it for quick reference. When I bookmark so-called "Favorites" on my computer they get lost. Never heard of Paul Sussman. Thanks for the introduction.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image


      5 years ago

      great books!

    • TyGatti LM profile image

      TyGatti LM 

      5 years ago

      Nice books! I love Archaeology but I've never read an archaeological mystery before, might have to read one of these :)

    • OrganicMom247 profile image


      5 years ago

      Great reviews!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've heard of some of these but haven't read any. They sound very good!

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 

      5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      I've read a book or two from Amelia Peabody but haven't tried the other archaeological mysteries. Your lens is helpful. I just might give it a shot as I love reading books in the mystery/suspense genre. ^_^

    • treasuresabound profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for these reviews! You really make me want to go grab some archeological thriller books right now. But then I will need more than 24 hours in a day to be able to read them. I have some espionage, thriller books waiting to be read but finding that time seem to ... Great reviews!

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      5 years ago from Houston

      Sussman is new to me. I've read Peters and enjoyed her books in the past. Thanks for the introduction to a new author.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I wanted to be an archaeologist but asthma prevented it so I'm stuck reading about it :) As for thrillers, growing up with Indiana Jones movies who doesn't get intrigued looking for the real thing? :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thanks for this lovely list of archaeological mysteries. Now I just need some additional time to read them!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Ooh, I read Last Secret of the Temple and loved it! I must check out more of his books and some of your other listed authors.

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't think I've ever read an archaeological mystery...sounds like an interesting genre to check out!


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