Cairo, 1942 - A city ruled by Egyptian royalty, occupied by the British military, seething with spies and deserters. Here in a hotbed of corruption, espionage, and profiteering, the war will reach a turning point and the future of the free world will be decided. Captain Bert Cutler, late of the Glasgow police, has been brought to Egypt with one purpose: to find Rommel's spy and plug the remarkable leak of exact intelligence that is making the Axis advance toward Cairo unstoppable. In a heady atmosphere of social gaiety, explosive politics, black marketeering, and sudden violence, Alice Stanhope, the beautiful young aristocrat with a well-connected mother in Alexandria; Prince Plotr, the aging Tsarist; Peggy West, the handsome British nurse awaiting her husband's return from a distant secret mission; exquisite Zeinab el-Shazil and her handsome brother, Sayed; Solomon al Masri, the wily arms dealer; Wally Wallingford, the reckless adventurer with his Independent Desert Teams; and a host of others will be ensnared in the tangled web of intrigue. From the formal headquarters of British Intelligence through the ancient streets of Cairo to bohemian soirees at the Hotel Magnifico...from a flamboyant houseboat on the Nile to remote desert villages and the shell-shattered wastes of the Sahara, Bert Cutler must pursue his clever and elusive prey. Even as the odds against the Allies escalate and the only victory possible must be snatched from the jaws of defeat, he dreams of a life with the lovely Alice, keenly aware that he himself is not what he seems. He is a man caught in a strange twist of fate...a man playing a brilliant charade. He is a man who has attended an inquiry into his own death and may yet live to face a charge of murder. Seizing a crucial moment of history and bringing it vividly to life in all its drama, irony, and ambiguity, Len Deighton has created a brilliant and compelling thriller that will grab you on the first page and hold you spellbound to the very end.