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BASED ON A TRUE STORY : In one of history’s greatest ancient disasters, a Persian army of 50,000 soldiers was suffocated by a hurricane-force sandstorm in 525 BC in Egypt’s Western Desert. No trace of this conquering army, hauling huge quantities of looted gold and silver, has ever surfaced.

Nearly 25 centuries later on October 6, 1981, Egyptian Military Intelligence, the CIA, and Israel’s Mossad secretly orchestrated the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, hoping to prevent Egypt’s descent—as had befallen Iran two years before—into the hands of Islamic zealots. Because he had made peace with Israel and therefore had become a marked man in Egypt and the Middle East, Sadat had to be sacrificed to preserve the status quo.

These two distant events become intimately interwoven in the story of Alex Goodman, who defeats impossible obstacles as he leads a Harvard University/ National Geographic Society archaeological expedition into Egypt’s Great Sand Sea in search of the Lost Army of Cambyses, the demons that haunt him, and the woman he loves.

Gary Chafetz, referred to as “one of the ten best journalists of the past twenty-five years,” is a former Boston Globe correspondent and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Globe.

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