A Café on the Nile
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A grand historical novel of romance and high adventure that roils in cosmopolitan Cairo and sprawls across the highlands of East Africa. A Café on the Nile It is 1935 in East Africa. Mussolini's armies are streaming by the hundreds of thousands through Suez on a march to Ethiopia. In the desert the Italian Air Force, equipped with bombs and poison gas, prepares for invasion. Abyssinia sits on the edge of a nightmare that will alter modern history, while safaris in the African highlands cater to the excesses of the wealthy and disenchanted. And in Cairo, on the Nile, the cosmopolitan crowd gathers at the Cataract Café to gamble with destiny. All paths cross at the Cataract Café. There, with a single word, a simple gesture, an extravagant gift, alliances are drawn, deals made, and fates unwittingly determined for the memorable cast of characters that people this tale of high adventure. There professional hunter Anton Rider's Gypsy blood runs cold when he spies his estranged wife, Gwenn, with her lover, the Italian count and aviator Lorenzo Grimaldi. There the spoiled, rich American twins from Lexington, Bernadette and Harriet Mills, contract Rider for an ill-fated safari across East Africa with Ernst von Decken, a German freebooter who has stolen a fortune in silver from the Italian army. There Olivio Alavedo, the Goan proprietor of the Cataract Café, celebrates the fifty years that have blessed him with the friendship of the down-at-the-heel English lord Adam Penfold, with a good wife, six daughters, an exotic mistress, and useful political connections. A dwarf, Olivio also suffers his age and knows he won’t see fifty-five. But no one knows just how dangerously the days are numbered at the Cataract Café. Praise for Bartle Bull “You finish this book almost out of breath . . . appreciative of Mr. Bull’s spirited, sensuous, hot-blooded evocation of a rich and eventful historical world.” —Richard Bernstein, The New York Times “A rip-roaring yarn . . . chock-full of fine ingredients: a cupful of Casablanca, a dollop of Isak Dinesen, a pinch of Indiana Jones and a touch of Tender Is the Night. Bull enriches the mix with a white-hot plot and genuinely dashing descriptive writing.” —USA Today