"Pearce deftly captures the intertwined political, cultural, and religious tensions of his colorful locale and turbulent period." -Publishers Weekly
"Pearce's last few plots have wound his sly, gentle satire more tightly than ever. The most satisfying entry yet in this attractive series." -Kirkus Reviews
While riding to lunch on his donkey, Fairclough of Customs is unseated by shots fired from behind. The incident is the first of a series of attacks seemingly aimed at public officials. Even Mamur Zapt Captain Gareth Owen, British head of Cairo's Secret Police, barely escapes. Is a sinister campaign to undermine foreign rule under way? And who are "the men behind?" Ordered to act quickly, Owen delves into the maneuverings at the Khedive's court and the goals of a commercial delegation. Along the way he juggles a Pasha whose political star is fading, a bomb-wielding Berber, and the knife-happy gypsy Soraya who seriously annoys the fiery and lovely Zeinab, herself the daughter of a pasha. Which of these explosive mixes is most likely to prove injurious to the Mamur Zapt as well as to the government he serves?
Michael Pearce was raised in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. He trained as a Russian interpreter but later moved to an academic career. He now lives in London and is best known as the author of the award-winning Mamur Zapt books.