I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a long time now. Obviously, I added it because I’m living in Egypt and I like a good mystery.
Also obviously, I tend to postpone indie fiction because, well… it’s a box of chocolates, mostly filled with marzipan and coconut.
So what’s the verdict on The Case Of The Purloined Pyramid? Read on to find out!
A New, Five-Book Series!
In my opinion, there’s nothing more exciting than finishing a thrilling book and then discovering that there’s actually an entire series following it. So much reading to look forward to!
So just in case this review inspires you to check out the entire series, here is The Masked Man Of Cairo, in reading order:
Quick Synopsis (No Spoilers)
The story focuses on an English veteran of the Great War who has moved to Cairo to pursue the collection and study of antiquities away from his countrymen.
He quickly makes some local friends, including a Nubian scholar and a young street beggar, and gets involved in the race against the Thule Society to discover ancient Egyptian arcane secrets.
The Intriguing New Protagonist
Sir Augustus Wall fought for the British in World War I, and suffered a disfiguring facial injury that has led him to wear a mask over half of his face (becoming the titular Masked Man of Cairo).
Perhaps as a result of this primarily-European conflict, Augustus is entirely disinterested in making new European friends. He has eschewed his English roots and moved to Cairo, choosing a home in a local neighborhood.
Initially, I found this protagonist quirky, intelligent, and curious. But later in the book, we find out that he was severely traumatized by the war, and frequently has wartime flashbacks and delusional episodes.
In addition, Augustus began the book with a curious interest in the other characters. However, at the end he can’t remember if his closest associates are married or not, or have families. He also ignores advice and warnings from other characters.
The whole thing felt like an inverted character arc, where instead of learning and growing and becoming a more relatable character, Augustus goes in the opposite direction entirely.
The author, Sean McLachlan, seems to know his stuff. I’ve been living in Cairo for about eight years now, and I like to think that I can spot an author with genuine Egyptian experience, and Mr. McLachlan seems to have it.
Additionally, according to his author bio, he has experience working on archaeological digs. This comes through in his writing as well.
One thing that truly impressed me was the bibliography at the end of the book. McLachlan shows that he really spent the effort to get the details, the atmosphere, and the historic events right.
The Recommendation: 4 / 5 Stars.
As I was reading this book, I checked out some of the other Amazon reviews, and one of them described this book as ‘Agatha Christie meets Indiana Jones.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself.
The Case Of The Purloined Pyramid has all the elements of a detective mystery, and throws in the elements of an archaeological adventure. It is over-dramatized and takes a few liberties with realism in order to add some additional tension, which is rather enjoyable.
All in all, this is one of the best new series that I’ve encountered in a long time, especially from what looks to be an indie author. If you like detective mysteries and historic adventures, I highly recommend this book.
And of course, if you like the Masked Man of Cairo, I guarantee that you’ll love Sparrow, the Short Story Teller. Subscribe below to get updates and news about his upcoming Cairo mystery, A Three Story Mansion!