Espionage, love, and power play upon the shifting sands of wartime Cairo
CAIRO, EGYPT 1941. As the Second World War rages, the city known as the 'Paris on the Nile' plays host to an international set who seem more interested in polo matches and swanky nightclubs than the Germans' unrelenting advance across North Africa. Meanwhile, as refugees, soldiers, and spies stream into the city, the Nazis conspire with the emerging Muslim Brotherhood to fuel the Egyptian people's seething resentment against their British overlords.
Ambitious American journalist Mickey Connolly has come to Cairo to report on the true state of the war. Facing expulsion by the British for not playing by their rules, he accepts a deal from the U.S. embassy that allows him to remain in the country. His covert mission: to infiltrate the city's thriving Jewish community and locate a refugee nuclear scientist who could be key to America's new weapons program. But Mickey is not the only one looking for the elusive scientist. A Nazi spy is also desperate to find him - and the race is on. Into this mix an enigmatic young woman appears, a refugee herself. Her fate becomes intertwined with Mickey's, giving rise to a story of passion, entangled commitments, and half-truths.
Deftly blending the romantic noir of the classic film Casablanca with a riveting, suspenseful narrative and vivid historical detail, City of the Sun offers a stunning portrayal of a time and place that was not only pivotal for the war, but also sowed much of the turbulence in today's Middle East.
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"Romance and characters' personal stories are as important as a political plot, which touches on the fate of the post-WW II world, in this thriller that holds readers' attention to the very end. Maio's research is excellent, and the background it provides for present-day events in the Middle East is fascinating. The novel unfolds at a pleasant pace, the characters are sympathetic and Maio effectively uses three viewpoints to tell her story." - RT Times, 4 stars
War book aficionados will be pleased with this one. Even if you're not a military/history buff, this in-depth story is still one of the most interesting and thrilling reads imaginable... Driven by fascinating characters, this author weaves an amazing tale based on real historical figures. Cairo in the early days of the North African campaigns definitely produced people you love to hate. Well done!" - Suspense Magazine
"The many historical figures lend authenticity, but it is Connolly and Levi's romantic entanglement that drives this satisfying exploration of a key time in western and Middle Eastern relations." - Publishers Weekly
"An ambitious work set against the backdrop of real events, Juliana Maio's City of the Sun provides a fascinating insight into the events that helped shape the forces at play in Egypt and the Middle East today. This book couldn't be more timely." - Reza Aslan, Author of No god but God and Zealot.
"Juliana Maio's City of the Sun is a stunning work of historical fiction, capturing the romance, intrigue and danger of Cairo in 1941." - Andrew Nagorski, former Newsweek foreign correspondent and senior editor, and author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
"Egyptian born Juliana Maio knows this territory like the palm of her hand, which is where she holds us. City of the Sun weaves a tangled tale of espionage, wartime romance, political intrigue, and action in a city crawling with all four. If you liked Casablanca, this story is for you." - Nicholas Meyer, New York Times Best Seller and Screenplay Academy Award nominee for The Seven Percent Solution; screenwriter, The Human Stain; director of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan
"Juliana Maio's City of the Sun belongs in the 'one percent' of new novels to read, not only because of the way she weaves suspense to keep you turning pages, but because she has married it all to a fascinating point in World War Two history with Middle East setting descriptions that will have you swearing you've been there. The kind of book that turns non-readers into obsessive ones." - Andrew Neiderman, author of The Devil's Advocate
"This is a romantic adventure, rich with spies, Nazis, ever-changing power and international refugees. The reckless events of the story are a distant mirror for the desperate troubles of the Middle East of today. A sexy and dangerous book." - David Freeman, author of One of Us, the adventures of an Englishman in pre-war Egypt
"Maio's detailed research brings alive the ancient city and creates a vibrant setting for her twisting, racing story. This is historical fiction the way it was meant to be enjoyed - and the way it was meant to be written!" - Kelly Durham, author of Berlin Calling and The War Widow.
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Born in Egypt, Juliana Maio was raised in France and formally educated in the United States at the University of California, Berkeley, and UC Hastings College of the Law. An entertainment attorney and writer, she also cofounded Lighthouse Productions, a film and television company. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, film producer Michael Phillips. They have a daughter. Visit her at www.julianamaio.com
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