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Publisher's Summary

Mythical in its ambition, Sphinx is a gripping literary thriller set against the tense backdrop of Sadat’s Egypt and the decadent, decaying remnants of the colonial European diaspora in Alexandria. 

Alexandria, Egypt, 1977. During a dive to an old shipwreck, archaeologist Isabella Warnock uncovers an artefact unlike anything she has ever seen: an astrarium, a mysterious ancient device rumoured to have shaped the destinies of pharaohs and kings since the beginning of time. But her discovery comes at a terrible price, and it falls to her husband, Oliver, to keep the priceless object safe. 

Up against a shadowy enemy and a powerful cult prepared to do anything for the treasure, Oliver is catapulted into a breakneck race to protect an ancient secret in a dangerous world of conspiracy and Egyptology, where age-old sorcery and legends clash violently with modern-day ambitions.

©2009 Tobsha Learner (P)2018 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Sphinx is an unusual joy among recent apocalyptic thrillers for its convincing characters and well-crafted prose. Learner is that rare beast: a wordsmith who can spin a yarn." (The Times)

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A novel that strives to be more than it is

To be fair, I purchased this book thinking it was something it is not. The description mentioned ancient Egypt, a discovered ancient yet high tech artifact, deadly antagonists who will stop at nothing to get that device. Sounds a lot like a lot of modern techno-thrillers in the vein of Andy McDermott, Clive Cussler, and the like. Sounded like it to me anyway.

Not quite.

What we ended up with here was a ghost story, set in late 1970's Egypt, and one man's struggle with a heart breaking death with the backdrop of the political unrest in Egypt at that time. There are many supernaturally tinged scenes that you are left to analyze and question. There is a mysterious device that should not exist, and that can do, for lack of a better word, magical things. We don't get into how it can do that or its true origins. There is a cult worshipping ancient Egyptian gods, and the obligatory political anarchist group.

Yet with all that, the author veers away from thriller territory and tries to make this"great literature". In doing so, they muted the action and played up the protagonists personal emotional journey. If that is what you want to read, then this is for you. If you want something with more action than introspection, maybe this is not for you.

The writing was fine. The story was fine. Just not what I was expecting or hoping to listen to.

As such I can only give this a 3 out of 5 rating. The book is not bad, but it seems to want to be something it is not...at least in my opinion.