2152 BC, Egypt: as the Old Kingdom disintegrates and anarchy slowly engulfs the Nile valley, fifty priests set out under cover of darkness into the Western Desert, dragging with them a sled on which rests a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Weeks later, having reached their destination, they calmly commit mass ritual suicide...1988, Georgia USSR ...
2152 BC, Egypt: as the Old Kingdom disintegrates and anarchy slowly engulfs the Nile valley, fifty priests set out under cover of darkness into the Western Desert, dragging with them a sled on which rests a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Weeks later, having reached their destination, they calmly commit mass ritual suicide...1988, Georgia USSR: a plane takes off from an airfield near the recently decommissioned nuclear facility of Mtskheta. Its cargo will fundamentally alter the balance of power in the Gulf. Bound for the Sudan, it disappears somewhere over Egypt's western desert...The present day, Egypt: a group of Bedouin travelling near the edge of the Great Sand Sea stumble across a desiccated corpse, half buried in the dunes. With it are a compass, a camera and a notebook, its pages covered in an indecipherable jumble of jottings and figures. A short time later, Dr Freya Hannan will land at Luxor airport. She's coming to Egypt to attend the funeral of her estranged sister, Alex - an explorer who'd spent the past 15 years in the Middle East, and who'd seemingly had taken her own life. For Freya, this marks the beginning of an extraordinary adventure - as she is swept up in the search - sometimes violent, often dangerous, always thrilling - for the answer to one of archaeology's greatest mysteries: the location of the legendary lost oasis of Zerzura, and the key to the astonishing, terrifying secret that lies at its heart...
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