Makana, a former police inspector who fled from Sudan to Cairo, lives on a rickety Nile houseboat. When the notorious and powerful Saad Hanafi hires him to track down a missing person, Makana is in no position to refuse him. Hanafi is the owner of Cairo’s star-studded football team; his most valuable player has just vanished and Adil Romario’s disappearance threatens to bring down not only Hanafi’s private empire but the entire country. But why should the city’s most powerful man hire its lowliest private detective?
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It is the summer of 2001 and in Cairo’s crowded streets the heat is rising ...The unsolved murders of young homeless boys are fanning the embers of religious hatred. As tensions mount, Makana is hired to investigate threats made to a hapless travel agent. But Makana’s troubled past is trying to lay claim to him and when Makana witnesses a brutal killing he attracts the attention of both the security services and a dangerous gangster family....
It is 2002 and Private Investigator Makana is shaken out of his grief when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl. In a country where honour killings are commonplace and the authorities turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator. Seeking answers in the dead girl’s past he travels to Siwa, where an old enemy lurks in the shadows. Makana discovers that the truth can be as deadly and as changeable as the desert beneath his feet.
Private Investigator Makana has a new client: the powerful art dealer Aram Kasabian. Kasabian wants him to track down a priceless painting that went missing from Baghdad during the US invasion. The art world is a far cry from the Cairo that Makana knows, but he discovers that this side of the city has its own dark underbelly. Before long he finds himself caught between dangerous enemies on a trail that leads him into the darkness of war and which threatens to send the new life he has built for himself up in flames.