City of the Sun-Juliana Maio

City of the Sun
Juliana Maio
Greenleaf Book Group, Mar 11 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781626340510

In 1941 Egyptians fear for their lives and what appears to be coming to their kingdom as General Rommel leads a desert blitzkrieg speeding towards Cairo. King Farouk struggles to rule under the thumb of the British Protectorate while the new rebellious Muslim Brotherhood demands these arrogant foreigners leave or face their wrath. Neither the weak puppet monarch nor the pompous British rulers are aware that the Nazis and the Brotherhood are negotiating a deal to rid Egypt of its feeble ruler and its overbearing overlords.

Feeling fortunate to be alive while coming from the Libyan Desert to Cairo along with thousands of fleeing refugees, American reporter Mickey Connolly saw first-hand the power of Rommel’s forces that threaten to take all of North Africa. Meanwhile American Chief Spymaster “Wild Bill” Donovan persuades Connolly to help find German Jewish physicist Erik Blumenthal, who probably hides in the Jewish sector. At the same time German espionage agent Heinrich Kesner also pursues Blumenthal. Mickey allies with Jewish refugee Maya Levi in his effort to locate the hiding nuclear scientist.

City of the Sun is a strong historical thriller that uses real persona and events to anchor a powerful storyline. Readers will feel they are in 1941 Cairo as Juliana Maio provides her audience with a taste of a divided, frightened, yet angry city expecting war. The romantic subplot adds hope and passion in the midst of strife. However, readers will relish the profound look at the early days of the Middle East dispute (interwoven into a superb drama) that still haunts the region and world decades after the end of WWII.

Harriet Klausner

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