The Witch of Babylon

Forge Books

Out of the searing heat and sandstorms of the infamous summer of 2003 in Baghdad comes The Witch of Babylon, a gripping story rooted in ancient Assyrian lore and its little-known but profound significance for the world.

John Madison is a Turkish-American art dealer raised by his much older brother, Samuel, a mover and shaker in New York's art world. Caught between his brother's obsession with saving a priceless relic looted from Iraq's National Museum and a deadly game of revenge staged by his childhood friend, John must solve a puzzle to find the link between a modern-day witch and an ancient one.

Aided by Tomas, an archaeologist, and Ari, an Iraqi photojournalist—two men with their own secrets to hide—John races against time to decipher a biblical prophecy that leads to the dark history behind the science of alchemy. Kidnapped by villainous fortune hunters, John is returned to Iraq, where a fabulous treasure trove awaits discovery—if he can stay alive long enough to find it.

International thriller-writing sensation D. J. McIntosh makes her American debut with The Witch of Babylon.


Read an Excerpt

342 West Twentieth Street, New York
Saturday, August 2, 2003, 10:30 P.M.
In the weeks since the accident, I’ve kept away from the constellation of friends who knew and loved my brother, Samuel. If our paths did happen to cross, they managed to say, “It’s a miracle you survived, John,” in tones suggesting the opposite.
I wore that one dark moment on the highway like a red-hot brand.
To avoid any more chance meetings, I arrived at Hal Vanderlin’s party deliberately late, hoping the crowd had already melted away. I wouldn’t


Praise for The Witch of Babylon

CNN’s Choice as One of Six Enduring Historical Thrillers, Along with Works by Umberto Eco, Wilbur Smith, Kate Mosse, Agatha Christie, and Dan Brown

One of Amazon.ca’s Best Books of 2011

“Rich in characters, puzzles, and historical significance, this shivery thriller is so good I wish I had written it.”
—Eric Van Lustbader, New York Times bestselling author of Blood Trust and the Jason Bourne series

“Ancient history and alchemy combine to terrorize us in this stunning historical thriller. A terrific read.”
—Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author of Bury Your Dead

“Soaked in the blood of centuries, yet as fresh as tomorrow's headlines. D.J. McIntosh is articulate, literate, and scary.”

—Alan Bradley, bestselling author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Witch of Babylon is at once a complex art-history mystery centered on biblical scholarship, a breath-stealing thriller set in the early months of the Iraq invasion, and an intellectual exploration of links between Mesopotamian myths and European alchemical processes.”
Mystery Writers Ink

“More erudite than Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, McIntosh’s complex thriller incorporates notes about Babylonian and Mesopotamian cultures plus a bibliography.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[S]hould keep readers glued to their seats . . . Highly recommendable to fans of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Clive Cussler’s Fargo Adventures, and Raymond Khoury.”

Reviews from Goodreads



  • D. J. McIntosh’s The Witch of Babylon has been sold in nineteen countries, was short-listed for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award, and won a Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished novel. McIntosh is a member of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies. She is a strong supporter of Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.



Available Formats and Book Details

The Witch of Babylon



Forge Books