Rumours are flying that the French have plans to invade Egypt. But then rumours about French plans are two a penny. Still, the War Office considers that there is no harm in sending James Burke to Egypt to see if he can discover any French plots.
In Burke’s opinion, the exercise is a waste of time, but it could prove entertaining, and maybe even profitable if he can combine it with a little light tomb robbing. The mission seems even more attractive when he rescues a Spanish girl, Bernadita, who is being held as a slave in Cairo.
Burke is forced to take things more seriously when he discovers French agents already in Egypt, spying out the country ahead of Napoleon’s invasion. And when 35,000 French soldiers land, he finds himself organising guerrilla resistance – while also trying to protect Bernadita in a country now at war.
Can he frustrate French plans and get Bernadita safely out of country? And are the pigeons he had to carry to Alexandria going to be any help at all?
Burke’s adventures here are fictitious, but Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign was definitely real and we get a spy’s eye view of the French landing, the Battle of the Pyramids and Nelson’s decisive action at the Battle of the Nile.
Did a British spy play a decisive role in Nelson’s victory? Quite possibly. This is a modern spy story but the historical background is detailed and authentic. In the end, though, this is “a rattling good yarn”. Just relax and enjoy it.
From “The Review”
The story is told in a laconic style, broadly following the report that Burke might make to his superiors, but including rather more personal detail than they would care about. This style gives the impression of a personal diary, and also conveys something of Burke’s personality. For example, we follow the personal struggles of an early 19th century soldier trying to overcome his sense of proper dress in order to blend in to the crowds.
“If the French are looking for a European, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to dress as an Arab?”
Burke had shed his tailcoat in preparation for his journey and was, once again, wearing the wrapping gown which had become his usual attire whilst riding in the desert.
“How much more ridiculous would you have me look?”
Bin Alim glanced pointedly at Burke’s breeches and boots, clearly visible below the gown.
“How much more ridiculous could you look?”
Burke and the Bedouin is now available on Kindle for just £2.99 (mybook.to/Bedouin). This edition is now available in North America with the same cover, so wherever you live you can buy it. Please do so.
The paperback will be along in a few days.