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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 September 2009
From the moment you open this book and see the maps of the the Egyptian desert and the enigmatic hieroglyphics, you know you are in for a treat. And then you turn over and are swept immediately into a savage sacrificial throat-cutting episode in the heart of the Great Sand Sea 3000 years ago... and you're off on an action-packed and gripping Indiana Jones style adventure featuring a contemporary archaeologist/Egyptologist, a heroine whose idea of fun is solo climbing up massive cliff faces, varied Bedouin elders, a very dodgy criminal with a penchant for imaginative murders (and a fear of cockroaches!) plus a spook or two, all drawn together throughy a long-lost secret allied with a very modern threat. It's cinematic in feel as it whisks the reader from scene to scene, the action is unrelenting with plenty of in-the-nick-of-time escapes and near misses, and the climax is truly inventive and edge-of-the-seat exciting. The background knowledge is pretty impressive too but this isn't the kind of book where you need to concentrate hard on a complicated history or it doesn't make sense. It's much more fun than that! And definitely a book you won't want to put down until you've finished. It would make a brilliant stocking-filler pressie too.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 November 2009
I confess to buying this book mainly because so much of it was located in the Gilf Kebir, an area of Egypt which I know and is very close to my heart. But I also enjoy a good thriller.

The book starts off very well. The rather gory story of the transport of an unidentified object into the Western Desert by the priests of Old Kingdom Egypt is followed by a switch to 1986 when a plane carrying an also unidentified cargo crashes in the same area. We then move to 2009 with the arrival of in Egypt of a female rock climber (Freya) to attend the funeral of her desert explorer sister who apparently killed herself. But it soon becomes clear that suicide may not have been the real cause of death. A bag discovered with a dead body by Bedouin near the Gilf Kebir area is delivered to Freya, in lieu of her sister, and this is the trigger for a series of violent events. The connections between these events and the subsequent meetings and action are labyrinthine. There are lots of car chases, threatened tortures, dramatic escapes and personal secrets revealed along the way. There's even an impromptu archaeological excavation at Abydos (don't read this bit if you're an archaeologist - your blood will run cold)

It is a good romp and the storyline mixes political wranglings from the time of the Iraq-Iran war, underworld arms and other unsavory dealings and CIA interests with a good dose of Egyptology and archaeology. The characters include our heroine the strong minded but guilt-ridden (and beautiful) rock climber Freya, our Egyptologist hero Flin (damaged but trying to make amends for his past) and a collection of goodies and baddies from intelligence agencies, the Bedouin and the underworld.

The story travels from Dakhleh to Cairo, Abydos and back to Dakhleh before heading out into the Western Desert and the Gilf Kebir. It was great to read the descriptions of the less salubrious areas of Cairo.

The characterization was okay. I didn't think that the relationships between the individuals aren't particularly well crafted and Sussman is rather better at action than tender and romantic moments (and the tender moments really were somewhat redundant). But I did like the twins, a great pair of characters who are both ghastly and revoltingly endearing at the same time, and the badies were wonderfully bad.

The real downside for me was the climax. We all know that the hidden oasis is going to be found, so I'm not giving much away there. The threads all come together here and it is a shame that it declined into a combination of the types of mythical fantasy that worked so well in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Mummy. Those were both comedy-adventures, so the fantasy works well. But this is described as a thriller, albeit with the intriguing prospect of a lost oasis to be discovered. The descent into curses-made-real and magical stones was really a disappointment to me. If you don't mind your thrillers coloured with a dose of ancient Egyptian magic and sci-fi type "effects" then it might not bother you but it really spoiled the ending for me.

This was the first of Sussman's books I have read and I shall certainly give his The Lost Army of Cambyses a go.
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on 11 December 2009
After reading Paul Sussman's totally brilliant and hugely compelling Last Secret of the Temple, I was hoping that this new novel would be even better, but it's actually a bit of a let-down. It's very good, and if you want to read a thriller in the Dan Brown tradition it's certainly recommended. But although Hidden Oasis starts well, the denouement doesn't quite hack it, and at the end it all tends to fizzle out. I don't want to write a spoiler of a review, but I'm wondering if the ending was imposed on Mr Sussman by his publishers?
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on 18 June 2010
I like the author's writing, and I greatly enjoyed his two previous books. This is in many ways a bigger work, and displays his very deep and thorough knowledge of ancient Egypt, as well as being an exciting and compelling chase thriller as the hero searches for perhaps the most famous - or notorious - of Egypt's lost relics, the Benben stone. My problem is the ending, which is simply unbelievable on every level, almost descending into farce. This is both in terms of the hero's actions - having almost escaped from certain death in a collapsing valley, he then decides to run back into it to try to rescue somebody who minutes earlier ordered his execution, for no reason that makes the slightest bit of sense - and in what happens to the landscape, which is not simply unlikely but physically, geologically and geographically impossible. That was disappointing, hence only three stars.
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on 30 September 2013
The time spend reading this book was worth, removing all the frustration in my life and the constant noise I did not need to hear, thank you for the best customer services, the packaging and care of presentation and for working within a time frame.

I would recommend your company to both my family and friends,Keep up the good work.
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on 25 July 2012
Paul Sussman's third novel The Hidden Oasis is an excellent page turning romp. From start to finish I have really enjoyed this. He writes so convincingly about the settings and characters that from the moment you dip into the book at any time you are immediately transported to the steaming Egyptian desert. I enjoyed it so much that I am going to continue immediately onto his next novel which has just come out, The Labyrinth of Osiris.
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on 30 December 2014
Paul Sussman's books are some of the best I've ever read and his literary genius will be sadly missed. He describes things in such a way that only somebody who has actually been there, seen and done that can.
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on 21 April 2013
This was a story that was a sheer pleasure to read.

There was good development of the characters and enough twists in the plot to keep me reading and reluctant to stop.

What I most enjoyed though was the "big picture" which placed the events of the present and those of ancient Egypt in the much greater context of what was going on in the Sahara before the onset of the desert conditions. This was not explicitly dealt with in detail but was hinted at and there were indications of what might have been in the far distant past, in the era of the first time.

I was left wondering at the end of the novel if, within the parameters of the story, there might be other ancient mysteries hidden in the expanse of the desert from this lost world. It is a great pity we shall never know.
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on 3 January 2014
This novel begins with two events that seem to be related only by geography; a group of Egyptian priests committing ritual suicide after transporting an unknown object to a secret place in the desert in the year 2153BC, and a plane-load of smugglers crashing over the same area in the 1980s. In the present, an American rock climber called Freya travels to Egypt for the funeral of her sister, a desert explorer from whom she has been estranged. She quickly becomes convinced that her sister's death is not all it seems, and the situation escalates when a Bedouin turns up with some objects that he found in the desert, swiftly followed by a helicopter-load of thugs who'll stop at nothing to get their hands on said objects.

The plot then shifts to Cairo where Freya teams up with an English archaeologist called Flin who has some secrets of his own, and from there things develop at speed, with car-chases, dramatic escapes, outlandish torture threats, espionage and some impromptu archaeological excavations. There's a supporting cast of Bedouin, CIA agents and an arms dealer whose henchmen are rather creative when it comes to killing people, and the subject-matter (always substantial in Paul Sussman novels) takes in the international arms trade, the underside of contemporary (albeit pre-Arab Spring) Cairo and the Iran-Iraq War as well as archaeology, Egyptian football teams and Ancient Egyptian myths and legends.

What with an archaeologist with a potentially dodgy past being one of the main protagonists, the feel here is very much that of a modern-day version of Raiders of the Lost Ark (that character's surname, Brodie, is an obvious nod to this). This was a superb read; if you've never read a Paul Sussman novel then you've been missing out. I love the detail, which really brings Egypt, and especially Cairo, to life. Heck, I even saw bits of the city I recognised from the only time I visited the place; at one point, the English archaeologist goes for a drink in the Windsor Hotel in downtown Cairo - I've been there myself, and I can confirm that Sussman's description of it is spot-on.
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on 25 September 2013
I am really enjoying this story. I have found "the hidden oasis" and the Army of Cambyses better than the Secrets of the Temple" but maybe this was because it tugged at my emotional strings too much as the illegal Israeli settlements really challenge me as the moral high horse of the Americans seem not to see where their support has led them not just in the eyes of the Arab world but the whole moral universe.
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