Kerry Hennigan's Reviews > The Devil's Oasis

The Devil's Oasis by Bartle Bull
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's review
Aug 02, 2011

it was ok

The Devil’s Oasis is set mostly in Egypt in 1942 when Rommell's tanks are threatening to overrun strategic cities and capture the Suez Canal.

The dwarf Olivio Alavedo runs the Cataract Café aboard a barge on the Nile in Cairo, and counts among his friends individuals who are destined to be on different sides of the escalating conflict. One of them is Anton Rider, who is called on by the British to lead long range desert patrols. His estranged wife’s relationship with a Frenchman who appears to support the Free French, while passing on information to the Vichy authorities, causes problems not just for Anton, but for everyone working to keep the Germans at bay.

Bartle Bull’s novel is full of intrigue, including the sexual kind, and thrilling wartime campaign action. He evocatively captures the atmosphere of the North African landscapes, and has populated them with interesting characters whose lives are bound up in each other, for better or worse. But sooner or later, they all come back to Olivio and his Café, which is not always to the little man’s advantage.

I enjoyed this novel, although I found its various characters and their relationships confusing at first. However, my perseverance was rewarded, especially once the action picked up, and the level of intrigue escalated. The Devil’s Oasis is the third in a series that started with The White Rhino Hotel and continued in A Café on the Nile. This is the first one I've read, and I'm encouraged to read the others now.

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