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City of the Sun

by Juliana Maio

City of the Sun by Juliana Maio

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There are currently 22 reader reviews for City of the Sun
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Power Reviewer Harriette K. (Weston, FL)

City of the Sun
A family consisting of father, brother Erik and sister Maya flee Nazi Germany and find themselves in Cairo as the war is being fought in North Africa. It is 1942 and the war is very close to Egypt. Erik is a scientist with knowledge of the development of atomic weaponry. They are taken in by a Jewish family that has deep roots in Egypt. At the same time, a Nazi spy is looking for the scientist so that the Nazis can use his knowledge and an American journalist who wants to rescue the scientist and send him to the U.S. so that he can help them work on the atomic bomb. Nobody knows the true role of anyone else in this plot, and, if that isn't enough, a romance is thrown into the mix for good measure. This is a very well paced tale and although the reader knows everything, it makes for a very good, fast read. We also get a glimpse into the life of Jews in Egypt at this time. The chronology might not be exact, but that's okay, too. I certainly recommend it as a nice, fast paced thriller.
Rebecca R. (Las Vegas, NV)

An Intriguing Tale !
I loved this book and can envision it as a movie. While wartime stories may not strike some as unique, this book's setting and narrator's alternating perspectives combine for something new. The plot pulled me into the World War II Egyptian setting right away and kept me interested. Sometimes when I vacillate between rating a book a 4 or a 5, I have to remember that it is books like this one which make the higher 5 rating easy. As I read, I found myself making notes of things I wanted to research in greater depth. I am so glad to have had an opportunity to receive this book on BookBrowse as I'm not sure it would have caught my eye otherwise.
Diane P

Cairo, 1941....
Juliana Maio has written an impressive debt novel. She is a natural story teller.

Set in Cairo, Egypt in 1941 with WWII in full swing. There was a thriving Jewish community in Cairo and it became a common destination for Jews escaping the Fascist regimes of Europe. Egypt looking to free themselves from British domination formed close ties with the Nazi's. The Nazi's where funding militant nationalistic societies using them to promote antisemitism in Cairo.

Set against this backdrop Maio weaves a tale of romance, intrigue, deception. I enjoyed this book but felt that the affair between Maya and Mickey overshadowed the story. The story is the an emerging Egypt looking to free itself from the British, the Nazi's fueling a growing Egyptian nationalism with propaganda about both the Jews and British. The politics of the time became the backdrop where I would have enjoyed the story more if the politics were in the forefront with the romance in the background.

The Jews have a long history in Egypt, the onset of WWII was the beginning of the end for them. During WWII there were 80,000 Jews in Cairo, today there are less than 40. I look forward to this author bringing us more of the Jews in Egypt.
Judith S. (Binghamton, NY)

A lovely read
Juliana Maio book is an excellent blend of history and romance. It is light. On the other hand it is a reminder of the ravages of war on both individuals and countries. Certainly Egypt is no longer Paris of the Nile. The love story is a blend of fast paced suspense, sophisticated humor of its time and romance. Quite enjoyable. Ms. Maio obviously loves her country. I would read more of her work.
Power Reviewer Betty Taylor

Glamour & Espionage in Cairo
I requested this book from NetGalley because it is based on my two favorite reading topis -- the Middle East and Judaism. It is wartime Cairo, 1941. There is a mix of refugees, British soldiers, and spies in Cairo at this time. The Nazis are moving toward northern Africa. Hitler is becoming a bedfellow with the Muslim Brotherhood. Mickey Connolly is in Cairo to report on the current status of the war. However, he is secretly trying to get information on a refugee nuclear scientist (Eric Blumenthal). America wants to build the "big bomb" and Blumenthal could be the key to making that happen. The Nazis are also looking for him. There's romance when Connolly becomes involved with Maya, who unknown to him is Blumenthal's sister. Maio writes the story in such a way that I could easily visualize like in Cairo at that time. Most people are not aware of the intricacies of life in places like Cairo and Istanbul during this time period. There's the elaborate parties, the espionage, the sense of constant danger. Maio captured the atmosphere and made it real for me.
BJ (Mukwonago, WI)

A New Perspective
I found City of the Sun an enjoyable read especially since historical fiction is not a genre I would typically choose. The story as a mystery intrigued me more than anything to begin with, but as I continued through the book I realized I was being drawn in--I wanted to know more about WWII along with the multiple geographic locations and cultures it affected. Believable fiction and a good first novel, this is definitely one that could be adapted into a film.
Marcy C. (Minneapolis, MN)

City of the Sun
This was an enjoyable book and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates historical fiction. I have read numerous works of fiction that use WW II as the setting but I have never read one that took place in Northern Africa.
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)

City Of The Sun
In 1941 the Egyptian Jewish community feels under the protection of the King,even as Rommel's Afrika Korps is closing in. A young German refugee is being sought by both the Germans and the Americans for their weapons program in the race for a nuclear bomb. The story is very interesting and well told although it can't be compared to books in the espionage/spy thriller genre. I did really enjoy City Of The Sun and will pass the book along to my friend to enjoy.
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