THE SEARCH FOR THE LOST ARMY: The National Geographic and Harvard University Expedition


ISBN: 978-1-936332-98-4
ePub: 978-1-936332-99-1
6 x 9; Trade paper; 374 pages; $21.95
BISACS: FIC032000; FIC027000; FIC031000

Special Features

The National Geographic and Harvard University Expedition


In one of history’s greatest ancient disasters, a Persian army of 50,000 soldiers was suffocated by a hurricane-force sandstorm in 525 BC in Egypt’s Western Desert. No trace of this conquering army, hauling huge quantities of looted gold and silver, has ever surfaced.

Nearly 25 centuries later on October 6, 1981, Egyptian Military Intelligence, the CIA, and Israel’s Mossad secretly orchestrated the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, hoping to prevent Egypt’s descent—as had befallen Iran two years before—into the hands of Islamic zealots. Because he had made peace with Israel and therefore had become the most hated man in Egypt and the Middle East, Sadat had to be sacrificed to preserve the status quo.

These two distant events become intimately interwoven in the story of Alex Goodman, who defeats impossible obstacles as he leads a Harvard University/National Geographic Society archaeological expedition into Egypt’s Great Sand Sea in search of the Lost Army of Cambyses, the demons that haunt him, and the woman he loves.


Often referred to as "one of the ten best journalists of the past twenty-five years" by the Boston Globe, Gary S. Chafetz is a former Boston Globe correspondent, and twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Globe. He is the author of three books, including The Perfect Villain (for which he was the only reporter able to gain access to Jack Abramoff, the notorious Washington lobbyist). Chafetz is editor of The Morphine Dream.


“A rousing mix of fact and fantasy that creates an illusion of reality through the specificity of its detail—historical and imaginative. A great adventure story.” —Daniel Aaron, author of The Unwritten War: American Writers and the Civil War (a National Book Award finalist), is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of English and American Literature Emeritus at Harvard University; the founding president of the Library of America; and the recipient of a 2010 Presidential National Humanities Medal

“Gary Chafetz has woven an extraordinary saga of the doomed Persian Lost Army of 525, BC into the rather suspect “assassination” of mod­ern Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat. Part archaeology, part guerilla battles, and part romance, you will find the trials and tribulations of the three principal characters as mesmerizing as any in The Raiders of the Lost Arc films. Truly, a monumental achievement.” —Jeremiah Healy is the award-winning (the Shamus Award for best detective fiction) author of 18 novels; and past president of the International Crime Writers Association; past president of Private Eye Writers of America

“An epic, thundering historical thriller. This is the type of book Ken Follett would write if only he possessed Chafetz’ world-class investi­gative skills.”—David Brody, author of Cabal of the Westford Knight

“This is a truly remarkable, well-written, and well-researched novel. It has it all: suspense, espionage, political intrigue, romance, adventure, historical detail, and a dazzling surprise-twist ending."—Ron Russell, author of DON CARINA: WWII Mafia Heroine

“A powerful, important and moving story. This is a great read and it will make a terrific movie!" —Lindy Hudis, Producer and author of Crashers: A Tale of Cappers and Hammers

“A thrilling and intriguing story filled with historical significance.”—John Ellis, GoodReads Book Club