The deserts of Sudan and the archaeologist Jack Howard is investigating sites that are connected to Akhenaten the Sun-Pharaoh. Jack and his team believe that Akhenaten is the Pharaoh in the Bible and the story of Moses.
As they attempt to unravel the three thousand year old mystery Jack and his team must not only contend with the heat and dust of the desert but also the huge Nile crocodiles and the equally rapacious Sudan government officials.
With the dig progressing they find not only echoes of ancient Egypt but also a time from when British Imperial power extended into the region.
They realize they are following the footsteps of the British expedition to rescue General Gordon from Khartoum and in particular the path of a young British engineer who is on his own secret mission to reach Gordon.
With the three timelines intermingling, Jack discovers an underwater temple connected to Akhenaten which he realizes could take him to one of the greatest archeological discoveries of all time.
With a crack team behind him he must use very trick in the book to solve the mystery of the Sun-Pharaoh.
This is the first David Gibbins book I have read and I have to say I really enjoyed it.
The mixture of the race to rescue General Gordon, hints of Ancient Egypt and the modern archeological adventure sets this book apart. As Jack walk in the footsteps of the British Engineer it brings a depth to the story which really brings it to life.
Both stories in this book could equally deserve its own book. The 1880’s thread in particular is excellent, as the British struggle to get their boats up the Nile and complete a rescue of Gordon.
It has a clever sub-plot of Gordon’s motives for staying in Khartoum and the British dilemma in what to do about him. Do they leave him and risk his capture by the Madists, hope he is killed in the battle for the city or is there a third option?
I also liked the discussion about the part religion played in these men. What drove them to enter these harsh and dangerous territories in search of evidence that could prove the story of the bible and also the utter belief in heaven that made death acceptable.
It brings a cast of historical characters to life, from General Wolseley and Kitchner to a very sympathetic portrayal of Gordon which I really liked. As a student and fan of late 19th century Imperial history I was very impressed with this part of the story.
Jack Howard is a great character, very much in the mold of Indiana Jones but with the help of a crack team and the latest technological gadgets. His passion for the past is infectious and the diving scenes are taut with excitement and tension.
David Gibbins make archeology exciting and I love mixture of the two timelines, the writing is fast paced and I literally raced along to find out what happened next.
This maybe the first David Gibbins book I have read but it won’t be the last.