Sussman's accomplished first thriller mixes an ancient legend of an invading Persian army swallowed up by a sandstorm in the Egyptian desert with the explosive politics of modern Egypt. London zoologist Tara Mullray comes to the pyramids at Saqqara to visit her father, a prominent archeologist. She finds him slumped dead in his apartment, apparently of natural causes. He has left his daughter an ancient, much-coveted wall fragment that he discovered, covered with hieroglyphics that may reveal the long-concealed site where the lost Persian army perished. The site would be not only an archeological gold mine but an incredibly valuable store of ancient treasure. Many shady characters are after the wall fragment, and Tara is caught up in a swirl of intrigue involving a malevolent Islamic fundamentalist leader, Sayf-al-Tha'r, who wants an Egypt freed of foreigners, and his associate, Dr. Dravic, a greedy, unscrupulous German professor. Helping her navigate the shadowy local politics is Daniel Lecage, an archeologist and former lover who left her for his other love, Egypt. She's also aided by Yusuf Khalifa, a thoughtful police inspector whose beloved older brother joined Sayf-al-Tha'r's radicals and was eventually killed by them. Sussman, who works on excavations in Egypt, has created a textured, well-researched and expertly paced debut. As the murders and thrills accumulate, the story veers toward melodrama, but the truly inventive plot twists come along at such a fast clip that readers won't mind. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is perfect for beach reading, which is where I was when I read it. The plot is convoluted, and the action fast and furious. There are some gruesome murders, and it's almost impossible to tell which character is exactly what he or she appears to be. The author is obviously quite familiar with Egypt and its history, and the search for this lost army is extremely interesting. There is a very dangerous terrorist-type in the book, and he haunts the life of the policeman-protagonist. … more