The Cairo Arrangement has been in my possession (on my Kindle) since late 2016. Others are that old in there, but I discovered to my shame, that I had got this from Librarything through the Early Reader scheme. When I put Zanzibar’s Rings in there I triggered a reminder of things I hadn’t reviewed on LT yet. So I copied all the others across, and realised…

Many apologies to Mr Colbert. I had so few of the ‘winners’ of ZR actually download it, I imagine other authors have been similarly left high and dry by their Early Reader offers.

Cairo Arrangement

The Cairo Arrangement

by Bruce Colbert

This frightening event occurred in present day Egypt. All the case computer files and people have since disappeared. It involved five countries and the world knows nothing about what really happened.

An ambitious Air Force commandant, oil-rich Saudis, fearful Israelis*, CIA operatives and an Egyptian government, corrupt and avaricious from top to bottom, together fuel the rage and deceit that eventually became the Arab Spring.

“A first rate thriller. Colbert brilliantly draws you into the action. Get ready for a hell of a ride!” –Robert R. Maldonado, Lt Colonel (ret) US Air Force Special Operations, and author, Atlantis: Keepers of the Crystal Skull. (goodreads)

*really? I didnt think so!

My Review

I have no idea how much of this story was based on fact. I was interested by the blurb as I have friends in Cairo (Egyptian ones), who were caught up in the Arab Spring: I even saw one of them on the newsfeed from CNN. The UK and US news had very biased reporting, mostly in favour of the right-wing candidates, not the more liberal progressive people. I’m not sure I really enjoyed this book, though.

The Cairo Arrangement is a very realistic approach to a complex political and sociological problem. You are probably aware of the Islamic fundamentalism. You may not know there is also host of ordinary people with hopes and desires for a better future, one in which their education can give them good careers, and freedom to live useful lives.

Mr Colbert picks one such example, an honours graduate of a prestigious London university, who can only get work in Cairo driving taxis. But being educated, he can work with the expats without too much grovelling. The author’s approach is to feature a wide range of inhabitants of Cairo. He includes US and UK lecturers at the Cairo School (a very post-colonial establishment). Also upperclass Egyptians, Saudi and Israeli agents, and a high status air force officer. For a long time these stories seem to be vignettes, you wonder where on earth they are going. I started to wonder whether the book was worth reading, especially when the point of view shifts between paragraphs in a most confusing way.

Eventually it all becomes clear… the plot thickens, and everyone thereafter has a purpose. The tension mounts, indeed is skilfully coaxed into a frenzy. Warning: there are several scenes of extreme violence to individuals under interrogation. The setting is extremely well treated, and Mr Colbert writes well, although my copy was poorly finished. I hope it was an ARC in need of correction, and it is so long since I got it, I can only apologise and ignore the technical shortcomings.

A book for those interested in the tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and those who enjoy action thrillers.

Book Review | The Cairo Arrangement by Bruce Colbert 'tension … is skilfully coaxed into a frenzy' #arab-israeli #conflict #thriller Share on X

Book Review | The Cairo Arrangement, Bruce Colbert
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2 thoughts on “Book Review | The Cairo Arrangement, Bruce Colbert

  • 10 December, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Gene and I enjoyed our trip to Egypt – the sightseeing was wonderful. We also were there when protests were going on and had to leave a mosque because the ever present police told us it was time to get out.

    • 12 December, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      It’s an amazing place. I did the Valley of the Kings decades ago, and was glad to visit my Cairo friends so I had a better feel for real life there. That preceded the revolution. I occasionally got updates from them when the authorities let Facebook accounts through their security net.

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