The Hidden Oasis

( 11 )

Overview

"The Hidden Oasis opens in 2152 BC with eighty priests setting out under cover of darkness into Egypt's Western Desert, dragging with them a sled on which rests a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Four weeks later, having reached their destination, the priests calmly slit each other's throats." "Four thousand years later in present-day Egypt, professional rock climber Freya Hannen arrives for the funeral of her sister, Alex, a Saharan explorer. From the outset Freya is suspicious of claims that Alex had taken her own life, and sets out to

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Overview

"The Hidden Oasis opens in 2152 BC with eighty priests setting out under cover of darkness into Egypt's Western Desert, dragging with them a sled on which rests a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Four weeks later, having reached their destination, the priests calmly slit each other's throats." "Four thousand years later in present-day Egypt, professional rock climber Freya Hannen arrives for the funeral of her sister, Alex, a Saharan explorer. From the outset Freya is suspicious of claims that Alex had taken her own life, and sets out to uncover what really happened to her sibling. In her quest for the truth Freya joins forces with Alex's friend, English academic Flin Brodie, a world authority on the prehistory of the Sahara. Flin is also searching for answers - he has devoted his career to tracking down a mythic hidden oasis, an Atlantis of the sands that is reputedly the final resting place of an iconic stone with extraordinary powers - the fabled Benben." In this thriller, we follow Flin and Freya on an adventure that takes them from the towering rock walls of Yosemite National Park to the teeming backstreets of Cairo, from the spectacular temples of the Nile Valley to the arid, unforgiving wastes of the Western Desert. The journey is sometimes violent, often dangerous, frequently surprising, and invariably riveting. At stake are not simply the answer to one of archaeology's greatest mysteries - the location of the legendary lost oasis of Zerzura - but also the key to the astonishing, terrifying secret that lies at the oasis's heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set largely in Egypt's vast western desert, Sussman's entertaining if formulaic third archeological thriller (after The Last Secret of the Temple) starts out as an Indiana Jonesian quest for a legendary desert paradise known as the Oasis at the End of the World. When Alex Hannen, a former CIA agent living in Egypt, is found dead, an apparent suicide, her estranged sister, Freya, a world-renowned rock climber, travels to Cairo for Alex's funeral. Freya, soon realizing her sister was murdered, vows to bring the killer to justice. After befriending one of Alex's closest friends, enigmatic Egyptologist Flin Brodie, the unlikely duo find themselves on the run from a host of assassins, spies and government agents—and charging headlong into one of the biggest archeological discoveries in centuries. The smart pace and attention to character development compensate for some dubious plot twists toward the end reminiscent of a weird X-Files episode. (Oct.)
Library Journal
When mountain climber Freya Hannen's Egyptologist sister dies mysteriously, Freya suspects murder. The more she investigates with her sister's friend Flin, also an Egyptologist, the more they realize that the motive for the murder involves Hidden Oasis, a legendary lost desert paradise and an obsession of Flin. Freya's sister had apparently stumbled onto the key. As Freya and Flin search for the truth and the oasis, others will stop at nothing, including extreme brutality and violence, to find the secrets Hidden Oasis holds. VERDICT Sussman (The Last Secret of the Temple) is an archaeologist familiar with Egypt and the Sahara, but what could have been a great adventure novel is written in numbing detail and further diminished by a number of subplots—lost uranium, timely plane crashes, the CIA, and magic meteorites—that detract from the search for the oasis. Overwritten and disappointing. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Egyptologists, gangsters and spies race across the desert in search of an ancient oasis and the treasure concealed therein. Professional rock climber Freya and her sister Alex, an explorer working in Egypt, hadn't spoken in a long time, though they were extremely close as children. So when Freya gets a call informing her that Alex has died due to an injection of morphine, allegedly self-administered despite the explorer's lifelong terror of needles, she sets out on an emotionally trying trip to attend the funeral. While Freya is staying at her sister's house, a mysterious Bedouin emerges from the desert with a backpack he asks her to give to Alex, not knowing that she is dead. Soon thereafter, Freya returns to the house to find it being ransacked by vicious thugs; when they discover her lurking outside, a chase ensues. Fearing for her life, Freya flees to Cairo and the protection of Dr. Flin Brodie, an Egyptologist friend of Alex whom she met at the funeral. Flin and Freya almost immediately find themselves pursued by a local crime lord and a shady CIA operative with unknown motives as they rush to find an ancient desert oasis that seems somehow connected with Alex's death. Sussman (The Last Secret of the Temple, 2007, etc.), himself a sometime field archaeologist, gets off to a slow start but eventually settles into a tense groove, occasionally leavened by flashes of classic screwball humor. Although the British author gets some details wrong (Yanks hardly ever say "bloody" or "arse" and always know what a Hardees is), for the most part his American characters feel real. But the narrative too often bogs down in an excess of detail, and in the novel's final quarter twist after unwelcometwist slows the pace to a painful crawl. Above-average middle doesn't quite compensate for a slow start and painfully bloated conclusion.
Library Journal
In Sussman's third archaeological thriller—following The Last Secret of the Temple (2008), also available through Recorded Books—rock climber Freya Hannan attends her sister's funeral in Cairo and finds herself enmeshed—together with her sister's old friend, Egyptologist Flin Brodie—in layer upon layer of intrigue surrounding a search for the elusive desert paradise known as the Oasis at the End of the World. While compelling, the story requires listeners to suspend disbelief as it reaches its climax, and its plot similarities to Raiders of the Lost Ark render it predictable. Prolific British narrator Gordon Griffin (www.gordongriffin.com), while providing a wide range of voices/personae, seems challenged by the American accent. Recommended for those liking adventure, intrigue, and violence. [The Grove pb is scheduled to be published in September 2010.—Ed.]—Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802145079
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 498,380
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Ban her

    Ok, bn. Harriet klausner just cost you another sale. Why pay good money fir the book when this plot spoiling so called reviewer just told everything that happens? Pleaae do something about her already. Ppl ate sick to death of her.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lose Some Weight

    Pick up this book and you'll find yourself spending longer on the treadmill, missimg more meals and finding less time to vegetate in front of the TV. With his third offering, Sussman has come up with a story that is so much fun it will briefly take over your life. Tell your family it will only be temporary.

    Get ready for ancient Egyption myths, modern Middle East politics, creepy arms dealers, fanatical CIA agents and am ending deep in the Sahara that will keep you turning pages.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Good and the Bad

    The Hidden Oasis was a good story, written well, and original, however I hold the publisher responsible for all the glaring editorial errors: misspelled words (once, even a main character's name was misspelled), grammatical errors, line breaks. This was so distracting that it was not a smooth read. How frustrating it must be for the author, and how embarrassing it should be for the publisher. I was amused to see that there were also misspelled words on the publisher's website. However, if you can get through all the editorial oversights the book is fun to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fans will enjoy Paul Sussman's solid though by the book suspense saga

    In Egypt, former CIA operative Alex Hannen commits suicide. Her estranged sister American mountain climber Freya arrives in Cairo for her funeral; but even before reaching Egypt, she has had a hard time picturing Alex killing herself. In Cairo, Freya quickly concludes that her sibling was murdered because the doctor who ruled suicide had no idea her sister could not have injected morphine into herself as Alex was down right phobic in her fears of needles. Though they had a schism Freya vows to get justice for her sibling.

    Frey becomes friends of Alex's buddy, pre-dynasty Egyptologist Flin Brodie, who is working a dig in the western desert in search of the legendary lost for almost four millennia at theOasis at the End of the World of Zerzura. As he gets closer to the find of the century, Flin and Freya are soon in deep trouble from assassins who may be working for the government.

    The third Egyptian archeological thriller (see THE LOST ARMY OF CAMBYSES and THE LAST SECRET OF THE TEMPLE) is a fast-paced action-packed thriller that keeps reader attention throughout even with some enigmatic late implausible twists. Like its two predecessors the story line has a modern day Indiana Jones like feel to it as one thing leads to another especially when Freya and Flin meet. Fans will enjoy Paul Sussman's solid though by the book suspense saga as the lead couple appear reaching their end in ironically a paradise Oasis at the End of the World.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    I couldn't put this book down & immediately bought another of Paul Sussman's books

    I wasn't familiar with Sussman's books. I love the history, archaeology, and characters. Lots of twists and turns which mixed together to make this a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 20, 2009

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    Posted November 18, 2009

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