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Authors: Paul Sussman

The Hidden Oasis

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THE HIDDEN OASIS

PAUL SUSSMAN

BANTAM BOOKS

LONDON • TORONTO • SYDNEY • AUCKLAND • JOHANNESBURG

Contents

Cover

Title

Copyright

About the Author

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Maps

2153 BC – Egypt, The Western Desert

November 1986 – Kukesi Airstrip, North-Eastern Albania

Washington. The Pentagon Building. The Same Evening

Four Months Later, Paris

The Western Desert, Between the Gilf Kebir and Dakhla Oasis – The Present

California, Yosemite National Park

Cairo – The Marriott Hotel

Cairo

Cairo

Dakhla

Cairo

Dakhla

Cairo – The American University

Dakhla

Cairo

Dakhla

Between Dakhla and Cairo

Dakhla

Cairo – Manshiet Nasser

Dakhla Oasis

Egypt – Between Cairo and Dakhla

Dakhla

Dakhla Oasis

Cairo

Cairo – The American Embassy

Dakhla

Cairo

Cairo – The Coptic Quarter

Cairo – The American University

Dakhla

Cairo

The Cairo Museum

Cairo – Zamalek

Cairo – Manshiet Nasser

Cairo – Butneya

Cairo – Manshiet Nasser

Dakhla

Cairo

Cairo

The Road to Alexandria

Cairo

Between Cairo and Alexandria

Dakhla Oasis

Abydos

Cairo

Dakhla

Cairo

Dakhla

Cairo

Over the Western Desert

Cairo

Massawi Military Airstrip, Kharga Oasis

The Western Desert

The Gilf Kebir

Cairo

Inside the Oasis

The Real Zerzura – Author’s Note

Glossary

Also by Paul Sussman

This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Version 1.0

Epub ISBN 9781409083917

www.randomhouse.co.uk

TRANSWORLD PUBLISHERS

61-63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA

A Random House Group Company

www.rbooks.co.uk

THE HIDDEN OASIS

A BANTAM BOOK: 9780553818734

First publication in Great Britain

Bantam edition published 2009

Copyright © Paul Sussman 2009

Maps and Gateway illustration © Neil Gower

Obelisk illustration © Alicky Sussman

Paul Sussman has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Addresses for Random House Group Ltd companies outside the UK can be found at: www.randomhouse.co.uk The Random House Group Ltd Reg. No. 954009

The Random House Group Limited supports The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the leading international forest certification organisation. All our titles that are printed on Greenpeace approved FSC certified paper carry the FSC logo. Our paper procurement policy can be found at www.rbooks.co.uk/environment

Typeset in 11/14pt Caslon 540 by

Falcon Oast Graphic Art Ltd.

Printed in the UK by CPI Cox & Wyman, Reading, RG1 8EX.

2 4 6 8 10 975 3 1

About the Author

Paul Sussman
read History at Cambridge, where he also won a Boxing Blue. From an early age, his abiding passion has been archaeology. He has worked as a field archaeologist, in particular in Egypt where he was part of the first team to excavate new ground in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun’s tomb was found in 1922. His first two novels,
The Lost Army of Cambyses
and
The Last Secret of the Temple,
are international bestsellers, while his journalism has appeared across the media, notably in the
Independent, Big Issue, Evening Standard
and on CNN.com. He lives in London with his wife and two sons.

Acclaim for
The Last Secret of the Temple
and
The Lost Army of Cambyses:

‘The
intelligent reader’s
answer
to
The Da Vinci Code:
a big, fat satisfying archaeological puzzle’

Independent

‘Not just a tightly-plotted, richly-observed, thought-provoking thriller, but one with a soul … The
compelling mix of tough, page-turning suspense, archaeology, history and characters caught up in the brutal politics of the Middle East,
make this a timely and authentic novel … comfortably blends historical mystery with unflinching contemporary suspense’

RAYMOND KHOURY, author of
The Last Templar

‘A brilliant detective novel,
hidden within a medieval saga, tucked inside an archaeological mystery, surrounded by a modern-day Middle East terrorist thriller …
a multi-layered quest
where all the characters are real and alive, and we should expect the completely unexpected’

KATHERINE NEVILLE, author of
The Eight

www.
rbooks
.co.uk

‘Shines a light into a bloody part of the world, where it is hard to tell enemy from friend, and where ancient debts of pain and murder echo to the present. Here is
a thriller on a par with the best
… it should be required reading’

JAMES ROLLINS, author of
The Judas Strain

‘A gripping mystery, intricately plotted and eloquently told … Sussman’s novel is not just thrilling, it makes the tension and promise of the Middle East
heartbreakingly alive’

WILLIAM DIETRICH, author of
Napoleon’s Pyramids

‘Ambitious, large-scale adventure … Sussman’s fastidious research into the novel’s setting grants everything a plausibility … his
millennia spanning plot
functions as a colourful backdrop’

Good Book Guide

‘Another
sure-fire winner
from a gifted storyteller’

STEVE BERRY, author of
The Templar Legacy

‘A
rollicking, feel-good adventure
set among the murky and convulsive politics of the present-day Middle East’

Jewish Chronicle

‘An
exciting page-turner
… unusual and intriguing’

Western Daily Press

‘A plot
as complex as a hall of mirrors,
and as gripping as a death threat’

Kirkus Reviews

‘A
tremendous adventure
… a great novel masterfully written’

VALERIO MASSIMO MANFREDI

‘At last,
a thriller that gets away from the hackneyed old ‘curse of Tut’ stuff;
and since Sussman has actually excavated in Egypt himself, we can trust his background detail … the fast-paced plot is one among many good things in this very assured first novel’

Scotland On Sunday

‘Spine-chilling, fast-paced … it
has all the ingredients of a James Bond adventure
… and it keeps you guessing right up until the final chapter’

Sunday Business Post

‘Adrenaline-packed … combines
all the elements of a truly great adventure story –
a 2,000 year-old historical mystery, buried treasure, a race against time … superbly evocative, with a huge epic sweep’

Crime Time

‘An enjoyable adventure story,
replete with archaeological lore’

Spectator

‘A
tough, sometimes brutal, but always engrossing
thriller. Sussman knows his Egypt, past and present, and he has the gift for creating engaging heroes of both sexes and really, really vile villains’

DR BARBARA MERTZ, archaeologist

‘A textured,
well-researched and expertly paced
debut … truly inventive’

Publishers Weekly

‘The twists in this detective story span 3,000 years and the credible surprises show the writer is a loss to the Secret Intelligence Service.
Frederick Forsyth has a worthy contemporary’

The Week

‘A
cinematic, rip-roaring adventure
mystery, brimming with details of Egyptian archaeology and history’

Booklist

‘Satisfyingly
full of ruthless characters, difficult situations and impossible odds

WBQ

‘Excellent twists
… this is Harrison Ford country … Sussman’s knowledge of Egypt – past and present – is
really impressive’

Shots

Dedication

I am blessed to have found the most perfect oasis on earth, a place of shelter and warmth and joy unbounded. It is called my family: Alicky, Layla, Ezra and Jude.

This book is for them, with love, always.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

There are an embarrassingly large number of people without whose advice, help and support this book could never have been written. First and foremost my beloved wife Alicky, who throughout has been there for me with wise counsel and calming words, and who has put up with more than any wife should reasonably have to put up with these last couple of years. I owe her a bigger debt of gratitude than I can ever repay.

The same goes for my wonderful agent Laura Susijn, whose unstinting support has kept me sane and on track, and my editor Simon Taylor, a man of infinite patience and encouragement.

Professor Stephen Quirke of the Petrie Museum provided invaluable advice on ancient Egyptian language, mythology and religion, and I can only apologize for the endless stream of oddball questions with which I have pestered him, and the substantial liberties I have taken with his replies. The British Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and the Sudan likewise helped plug the numerous gaps in my knowledge of Egyptian history and hieroglyphs. A particular thank you to Drs Julie Anderson,
John Taylor, Renee Friedman, Richard Parkinson, Neal Spencer and Derek Welsby. Also to Drs Nicole Douek, Clair Ossian, Nicholas Reeves and Robert Morkot for advice on, respectively, ancient Egyptian oases, botany, hieroglyphs and obelisks.

BOOK: The Hidden Oasis
13.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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