The Lost Army of Cambyses, Paperback
2 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In 523 BC, the Persian emperor Cambyses dispatched an army across Egypt's western desert to destroy the oracle of Amun at Siwa.

Legend has it that somewhere in the middle of the Great Sand Sea his army was overwhelmed by a sandstorm and destroyed.

Fifty thousand men were lost. Two and a half thousand years later a mutilated corpse is washed up on the banks of the Nile at Luxor, an antiques dealer is savagely murdered in Cairo, and an eminent British archaeologist is found dead at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara.

At first, the incidents appear unconnected. Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor police is suspicious, however. And so too is the archaeologist's daughter, Tara Mullray.

As each seeks to uncover the truth, they find themselves thrown together in a desperate race for survival - one that forces them to confront not only present-day adversaries but also ghosts from their own pasts.

From a mysterious fragment of ancient hieroglyphic text to rumours of a fabulous lost tomb in the Theban Hills, from the shimmering waters of the Nile to the dusty backstreets of Cairo, Khalifa and Mullray are drawn ever deeper into a labyrinth of violence, intrigue and betrayal. It is a path that will eventually lead them into the forbidding, barren heart of the western desert, and the answer to one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world.

At once an adrenaline-packed thriller and a wonderfully evocative archaeological adventure, " The Lost Army Of Cambyses" marks the debut of a great new storyteller.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780553818031



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I don't know why I bothered! I have had bouts of neuralgia that were more entertaining than this fatuous book.

Review by

I had expected a novel with a more historical angle but instead the lost army of Cambyses featured more as a continuing thread in the background. Instead the book is a sort of boys-own adventure with thriller elements and not even a very good one at that. Except for Inspector Yusuf Khalifa the characters remain flat and two-dimensional, never coming to life. Some of the characters (the German villain and torturer dying a horrible death in the quicksand, the by-the-book police chief Hassani obstructing Khalifa's investigation, even the terrorist Sayf al-Tha'r waging war against the infidels and brainwashing young boys he has taken under his wing) come across as cardboard figures and cliches, the dialogue is often wooden and peppered with expletives and the sandstorm towards the end of the book is just too convenient to actually conjure up any tension. Where the novel does pick up, though, are the passages where we learn something more of ancient Egypt's history and the excitement that new discoveries inevitably evoke. I read the chapters where Khalifa visits his old teacher and mentor at Cairo's Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and Tara and Daniel finding the hidden tomb in the hills with great interest; it is in places like this where the reader can feel the genuine passion the author has for his subject. Unfortunately it is not enough to sustain interest or credibility throughout the novel but it is an entertaining enough and undemanding read, filling the time waiting in an airport lounge or sunbathing on a beach somewhere.