TRUE RAIDERS is the untold true story of Monty Parker, a rogue British nobleman who, after being dared to do so by Ava Astor, the so-called “most beautiful woman in the world,” headed a secret 1909 expedition to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant.
Alongside a strange Finnish scholar named Valter Juvelius who claimed to have discovered a secret code in the Bible that revealed the location of the Ark, Monty assembled a ragtag group of blueblood soldiers, psychics, and a one-of-a-kind Dominican priest, all to engage in a secret excavation just outside the walls of Jerusalem.
Using recently uncovered records from the original expedition and several newly translated sources, TRUE RAIDERS is the first whole retelling of this group’s adventure as it unfolds in the strange space between fact and faith, truth and fiction, science and conspiracy.
An Unlikely Adventurer
A MYSTERIOUS Code
HISTORY'S Greatest Prize
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
St. Martin's Press
"My favorite sort of woman . . . a heroine for the ages."
—Paula McLain, bestselling author of
WHEN THE STARS GO DARK
"Olive the Lionheart has it all."
—Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of
THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY
"Powerful, nearly hallucinatory."
"Fans of women’s history and adventure stories will cheer." —Publisher's Weekly
"Grit and courage to spare . . . one for the books."
A 2020 Amazon Editor's Pick, A Christian Science Monitor
Best Book for August, and Nominated for the Ohioana Book Award in Nonfiction.
In Paperback from St. Martin's Griffin 8/17/21
MRS. SHERLOCK HOLMES
Edgar Award finalist
Best Fact Crime
“An express train of a story."
-Starred review, Kirkus Reviews
"Heroic...her inspiring story demands a hearing.”
―New York Times
“Rambunctiously excellent…his storytelling skills give Humiston’s incredible life the book it deserves.”
―The Christian Science Monitor
Winner, Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction
“A wonderful book, as exciting as Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.”
―Starred review, Booklist
“As definitive a work as may be possible.”
―The Washington Post
“Compulsively readable.” ―Publishers Weekly
Winner, St. Lawrence
"An entertaining, bold, and wholly original collection of poems" - The Rumpus
"A voice and style I’m enthralled to see.”
-Luke Kennard, The Transition
"A bustling, boisterous, mischievous book, the kind of book you should keep on you always, everywhere.”
Faber Poets 3
Originally appeared 9.27.19 on the podcast CRIMINAL with Phoebe Judge and guest Brad Ricca. Visit thisiscriminal.com for more episodes. Art by Julienne Alexander.
I was born in a suburb of Cleveland. I live in Shaker Heights (still Cleveland) with Caroline and our three boys, in a 100-year-old house. I teach sometimes at Case Western Reserve University, where I earned a Ph.D. in English. I've written Olive the Lionheart (St. Martin's, 2020), Mrs. Sherlock Holmes (St. Martin’s, 2017), Super Boys (St. Martin’s, 2013), and American Mastodon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). I made a movie, Last Son, that won a 2010 Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival. I've also written for The Beat, Belt, Book Riot, Narratively, History Extra, and the official Star Wars website. I've been in documentaries on the History Channel, AMC, and have been a guest on Criminal, All Things Considered, BBC radio, and Innovation Hub, among others. Also, I hate mummies.
I like telling stories about that moment in-between someone's actual life and the telling of it, where the real meets the imaginary.
True Raiders is my newest book and is the result of a lifetime of trying to understand the effect that Raiders of the Lost Ark had on me (hint: it was substantial). I wanted to write a true story, but also a big, fat love letter to all those great '80s things like In Search Of, Amazing Stories, and Holy Blood, Holy Grail. And of course, Raiders itself. What does it really mean to physically go after something that no one has seen in thousands of years, if at all? Is it an exercise in faith? Or conspiracy? This is a weird story that somehow makes its way from Palestine to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and to a monster I swore I would never, ever write about. I hope you like it.
Thanks for reading (and reading). I appreciate it.