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The Devil's Oasis (2001)

by Bartle Bull

Series: Anton Rider (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
793252,588 (3.9)50
All the treacherous intrigue of cosmopolitan Cairo and fiery drama of Rommel's desert war in Africa continue the stirring historical adventure of the masterly Bartle Bull's two previous novels, The White Rhino Hotel and A Cafe on the Nile. It is now 1942, and Nazi Germany stands at the height of its power. In North Africa the brilliant general Rommel's panzers threaten the Suez Canal, the Middle East's oil fields, and the trade route to Asia, but to win Egypt Rommel must first take the portof Tobruk and destroy the British fortress of Bir Hakeim. There, against the massive force of Rommel's Afrika Korps, a young English hussar named Wellington Rider fights beside the French Foreign Legion. Wellington's father, the professional hunter Anton Rider, is now operating as a desert commando and is engaged in the obliteration of Nazi air bases and petrol dumps. Not only has Anton's old friend Ernst von Decken, a German soldier of fortune, meanwhile become the enemy, but also Anton's estranged wife has entered into an affair with a Frenchman who supports Rommel's campaign. Alliances shift, loyalties deceive, espionage thrives, and peril lies as much in the dark corners of Cairo as it does in the desert night. "...after three volumes of nonstop action, eroticism and intrigue, we still care about what happens to ... Mr. Bull's extravagant cast."--Richard Bernstein, New York Times "A World War II page-turner that's part Masterpiece Theatre, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, part Casablanca."--Washington Post… (more)

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Bartle Bull has done it again. A rip-roaring adventure story with good guys and bad guys, and people caught between all told in the midst of World War II Cairo. Like the previous books in this series this one is full of characters you love and characters you love to hate. Unlike the other ones this book is set in the deserts of North Africa in 1941 & 1942 in the desperate days before the British Victory at El Alamain. The author manages to write about daily life behind the battle lines in Cairo as well as he writes about the battlefield. That author was able to convey in words the vastness and beauty of the desert while also describing the tyranny of survival in that extreme environment. He weaves fiction with non-fiction and makes the fighting in the deserts of North Africa real while also making the intrigue and personal and political maneuvering of life behind the front as interesting and lively. More than once I found myself thinking that I was reading an episode of Rat Patrol combined with the cold war antics of James Bond. Very exciting stuff and a wonderful read.

It was also a timely read in that the cities of Libya that are now in the news were also featured in the book and a work of fiction about World War II became something that helped to explain the country prominently in the news this summer. The endpiece of the copy I read had a wonderful map of the area which I really appreciated. Each chapter also featured a small drawing of some event, person, or object that figured prominently in the story. I found myself eagerly searching that picture for clues as to what was coming next. No doubt this work contributed to the cost of this book, but it added greatly to my pleasure in the reading. ( )
1 vote benitastrnad | Sep 23, 2011 |
The Third of the African Trilogy, it follows Anton and Gwenn Rider, their son Wellington, Ernst von Decken, and one of the most interesting characters I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, the dwarf Olivio Fonseca Alavedo, as they deal with their own personal demons and the German battle for North Africa in the early days of WWII.

I found this book a little less stunning than the first two, but still miles ahead of most historical fiction - beautifully written characters, accurate and interesting descriptions of life in Africa and Egypt in the 1940s, and horrific and historically accurate descriptions of battles in North Africa. I cared for the characters; cheered their victories and was saddened by the bad things that happened to them. A wonderful book. ( )
  karenmarie | Dec 20, 2009 |
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All the treacherous intrigue of cosmopolitan Cairo and fiery drama of Rommel's desert war in Africa continue the stirring historical adventure of the masterly Bartle Bull's two previous novels, The White Rhino Hotel and A Cafe on the Nile. It is now 1942, and Nazi Germany stands at the height of its power. In North Africa the brilliant general Rommel's panzers threaten the Suez Canal, the Middle East's oil fields, and the trade route to Asia, but to win Egypt Rommel must first take the portof Tobruk and destroy the British fortress of Bir Hakeim. There, against the massive force of Rommel's Afrika Korps, a young English hussar named Wellington Rider fights beside the French Foreign Legion. Wellington's father, the professional hunter Anton Rider, is now operating as a desert commando and is engaged in the obliteration of Nazi air bases and petrol dumps. Not only has Anton's old friend Ernst von Decken, a German soldier of fortune, meanwhile become the enemy, but also Anton's estranged wife has entered into an affair with a Frenchman who supports Rommel's campaign. Alliances shift, loyalties deceive, espionage thrives, and peril lies as much in the dark corners of Cairo as it does in the desert night. "...after three volumes of nonstop action, eroticism and intrigue, we still care about what happens to ... Mr. Bull's extravagant cast."--Richard Bernstein, New York Times "A World War II page-turner that's part Masterpiece Theatre, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, part Casablanca."--Washington Post

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