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Acclaimed British author Barry Unsworth not only won the Booker Prize (for Sacred Hunger in 1992) but two more of his distinguished historical novels been short-listed over the years. In Land of Marvels, he revisits a period previously explored in Pascali's Island: the tumultuous end of the Ottoman Empire. Set in 1914 Mesopotamia during the build-up to WWI, the story centers on a fantastic discovery by a British archeologist. But the ancient historical treasure he unearths is threatened by present day progress, namely, the search for oil, and the encroaching Baghdad Railway. Expertly combining historical facts with elements of compelling fiction, Land of Marvels is part thriller, part melodrama, and utterly mesmerizing. Barry Unsworth talks about his long career, his life in the Italian countryside, and why politics are at the core of his work.