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City of the Sun

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Espionage, love, and power play upon the shifting sands of wartime Cairo

CAIRO, EGYPT 1941. As the Second World War rages, the city known as ''Paris on the Nile'' plays host to an international set who seem more interested in polo matches and swanky nightclubs than the Germans' unrelenting advance across North Africa. Meanwhile, as refugees, soldiers, and spies stream into
Paperback, 371 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Greenleaf Book Group Press (first published March 9th 2014)
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I received an ARC of City Of The Sun By Juliana Maio from in exchange for an honest review.

On October 6, 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated while he attended a parade in Egypt. So unexpected was this attack on Sadat that when the murderers climbed into the stands to kill him, he thought they were part of the show and saluted them. I stood in my kitchen watching the event unfurl on my 10-inch black and white tv screen. It was the raw footage of what was supposed
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, however, in terms of enjoyment, it would only be worth 3 stars. I give it 4 because I came away with a new and active interest in: differences and prejudices between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews (presumably heightened by the Nazi anti-semitism); the nature of British involvement in Egypt; the possibilities, in the 1940s, of internationally assimilated jewry as opposed to the State of Israel as the universal Jewish homeland; Egyptian peoples' efforts to govern themselves in ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
CITY OF THE SUN by Juliana Maio
This book started as a good, well thought out war time spy thriller with a little romance thrown in. Then three fourth of the way through a couple of needless hot and heavy sex scenes appeared that seemed out of character for Maya and unnecessary for the story line. Then the ending just got unbelievable. It seemed as though the author ran out of steam and did a quick and dirty ending with coincidence and unreal situations abounding.
The characters – Maya, a Jewish
Amy Lignor
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
War book aficionados will be very pleased with this one; however, even if you’re not a military/history buff, this in-depth story is still one of the most interesting and thrilling reads imaginable.

It’s the year 1941, and the German Army is doing its best to take over North Africa. The Afrika Korps, headed by General Rommel, has Cairo on the ropes. Great Britain is trying its best to keep control of the country and its ultimate prize; the Suez Canal. And Farouk, King of Egypt, doesn’t know what
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Juliana Maio has written an impressive debt novel. She is a natural story teller.

Set in Cairo, Egypt in 1941 with WWII in full swing. There was a thriving Jewish community in Cairo and it became a common destination for Jews escaping the Fascist regimes of Europe. Egypt looking to free themselves from British domination formed close ties with the Nazi's. The Nazi's where funding militant nationalistic societies using them to promote antisemitism in Cairo.

Set against this backdrop Maio weaves a
Vicki Jaeger
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vicki by: advance reading copy
A very interesting piece of World War II history that I hadn't read about until now. I didn't realize there were over 80,000 Jews living in Egypt at the beginning of the war, many of them born and raised in Egypt. This story follows a family who has escaped persecution in Europe, and is temporarily living with acquaintances while attempting to find a permanent home in the world. I had forgotten all about the battles going on in that region between Germany and the Allies, and really Germany was w ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the Bookbrowse Early Review Program.
This is the first book written by the author, and it is a page-turner. It is fast-paced and the story put me right next to the characters in WWII war-torn Cairo.
The story is about war, and spies, and Jews living in Egypt,and if that's not enough, it's also a love story.
I would definitely read anything else this author would write; she is really good, and I highly recommend this to any History buff. 4 stars
Dottie Resnick
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow! An incredible historical fiction novel about Jews in Egypt during the beginning of World War II. This book incorporates details of the beauty of Cairo, the rise of the Muslim brotherhood, the British and American influences in Egypt during this difficult time and the lives of Jews in living and thriving in Egypt. It was enlightening, difficult and spell-binding, with intrigue, love scenes, spies, mystery, suspense and history of the time. Loved it!
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was really hoping I'd win this book in the goodreads giveaway, and luck was on my side! I like history, military history, and have an interest in Egypt, so I was happy I won a copy. I think the setting is particularly riveting, and it seems like an area (Egypt in WW2, most especially Jewish history) has been very neglected. A German Jewish scientist arrives in Egypt, and is quickly sought after by German and American spies. All of this creates the potential for a very intriguing book dealing w ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was an impressive debut novel. I love historical fiction and I thought the idea of Egypt during early WWII was quite intriguing. We meet Maya and Mickey, a Jewish refugee from Germany stopping on her way to find sanctuary with her family and Mickey a new journalist looking for the story that will make his career. I really enjoyed Maya. I felt she had just the right amount of rebellion in her well-guarded heart after all s
Amy Yingling
A Jewish women on the run and an American journalist acting as a spy become star crossed lovers in Egypt while Rommel's Afrika Corps marches forth with its eye on Cairo.

Maya inhibited by the horrors she faced as she and her brother and father escaped first Nazi Germany and then Vichy France ending up in Cairo after being on the run for some time seems willing but unsure of whether or not to let Mickey into her heart.

Mickey who is not long out of a relationship that ended after 3 years and an e
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-east
I requested this book from NetGalley because it is based on my two favorite reading topis -- the Middle East and Judaism. It is wartime Cairo, 1941. There is a mix of refugees, British soldiers, and spies in Cairo at this time. The Nazis are moving toward northern Africa. Hitler is becoming a bedfellow with the Muslim Brotherhood. Mickey Connolly is in Cairo to report on the current status of the war. However, he is secretly trying to get information on a refugee nuclear scientist (Eric Blumenth ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
City of the Sun is set in Cairo, Egypt during the height of World War II and follows Maya Blumenthal, a Jewish refugee and her surviving family as they try to escape the Nazi war machine. Her brother, Erik is a brilliant scientist whose paper on the possibility of a bomb that harnesses the power of atomic energy has gathered interest from both the Axis and Allied leaders and has them the unwitting subjects of a covert manhunt for both sides. Mickey Connolly is a young American freelance journali ...more
Jay Williams
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
All the ingredients for an outstanding Blockbuster: romance, intrigue, deception, exotic locale, historical accuracy, a cast of loveable and hateful characters, and a climate of tension. The story was fantastic. It was so well-written I envisioned the action in my mind as though I was seeing a film. Set against a backdrop of early WWII, the action follows the trials of the Jews, both indigenous and displaced, in the city of Cairo. The wise-cracking American Reporter is drawn into spying, and unk ...more
B.J. Miller
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
CITY OF THE SUN is a tour de force well-deserving of the praise-filled quotes on both its back cover and inside pages. A unique page-turner, it is replete with intrigue and emotionality within the context of the very real yet rarely explored complexities of life in Cairo in 1941. A work of historical fiction which sheds light on the underpinnings of many of today's worldwide political dynamics, it is also very cinematic, exotic and suspenseful. I will be first in line to see it when it becomes a ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I love historical fiction about WW2 so I was excited to read this about what was going on in Egypt and all the European Jews who would arrive there. The book kept me entertained and I learned about Egypt which is not something people usually learn about when discussing WW2. My only issue with the story was the ending. I was not a fan of how it ended.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Author Interview at:

I thought this was a perfect blend of historical information with a perfect twist of suspense. I loved the message behind the story and it made me want to learn more about the history of this area. I will be looking forward to more books by Ms Maio!
Jill Sulak
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it
A great read! "City of the Sun" is set in WW2 Egypt, and while this is not my typical genre, I found myself engrossed in this story. I am fascinated by Jewish culture and this book opened a door to a facet of that culture that I had never considered. This book really has it all - espionage, suspense, romance - and all wrapped up with a healthy dose of rarely explored history. ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
City of the Sun takes place in Cairo Egypt in 1941 during World War II. It is the type of historical fiction that I really enjoy reading a book that has both well drawn characters and a plot that makes you to keep reading till y I will look forward to reading more books by Juliana Maio. Read as a netgalley copy.
Anna Elliott
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
The scene of Cairo in 1941 was atmospheric and well presented in this book and it’s exoticism was well portrayed. It was obvious that the author has spent time there as her descriptions appeared accurate. I do not know a lot about the situation in Egypt during the war and I enjoyed learning more about this in this easy to read novel.

My full review is at www.leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.c...
Maureen Tumenas
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A well written historical novel exploring the Jews of Cairo in the midst of WWII. Characters are compelling and believable. A different point of view than is typically taken when examining the problems Jews faced at that time. I did not know much about Egyptian Jews before reading this.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
With its reputation as the Paris on the Nile, 1941 Cairo is a city teeming with refugees, soldiers and spies of various nationalities as the high society parties the nights away and German troops continue their advance across North Africa. Amidst all of this, American journalist Mickey Connolly is recruited by the fledgling US spy service to help track down a Jewish scientist recently arrived in the city whose research is believed to be vital to furthering America's attempts to develop a nuclear ...more
Kendra Fiddler
The research was very well done and the story line was compelling and engaging, but the writing style and syntax left much to be desired.
Mark Watkins
It's 1941 and Rommel's Afrika Corps are bearing down on Cairo. The city is on edge, some of them hoping the Nazis will expel the British who control Egypt, others anxiously waiting for the Allies to stop their advance. Mickey Connelly is an intrepid young reporter out to make his mark in war-time Cairo. Maya is a Jewish refugee, come to Cairo with her father and brother Erik, who happens to be a nuclear scientist in hiding and being sought by the Germans and the British. Mickey is co-opted by th ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. It's described as a "Casablanca"-style WWII mystery/thriller, set in Cairo. The reason I was initially concerned is that I don't like the movie "Casablanca" all that much. This book was a lot better, which made me happy.

Set in the early days of WWII, the story revolves around several groups of characters with competing and conflicting interests. The Germans, led by
Kathy Cowie
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have read a lot of terrific World War II novels. Most of them have been strong, historically accurate stories of war-ravaged people and the lands they loved and lost. I have also read some stunning duds, with unbelievably inappropriate romances that take place between, say, a Nazi and the lovely lady next door. Since I am one of those people who have trouble completely giving up on a book before I’ve finished it, (no matter how ridiculous) this was hard. But I’m more careful now. I stopped rea ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is set during World War II in Cairo, Egypt and tells the story of a young Jewish woman named Maya and her family who are escaping Jewish persecution, struggling to find a place to call home where they will be safe. Simultaneously, an American reporter named Mickey, ends up working for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as a spy for a very specific mission. Maya & Mickey’s paths cross and are woven together throughout the duration of the story.

This was a very well-written book filled with myster
L.M. Quinn
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“City of the Sun” is an interesting title for a story that touches on some of the darkest moments in Middle Eastern history during WWII. A multi-cultural romance plays out on the back drop of 1941 Cairo where the Germans are conquering their way through Africa toward the city, and many historical figures play out their roles to make this happen or not. The city’s Jewish community that thrives alongside Egypt’s Arab majority closes a blind eye to the fact that they are being sold out to the Germa ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
For lovers of historical fiction, Juliana Maio's City of the Sun brings to life WWII set in Egypt. There are so many books and spy novels set in Germany, that its refreshing to see the same time period brought to life in a different, but equally important locale.

Set in Cairo in 1941, we meet aspring journalist Mickey Connelly. Mickey writes stories that he can't get anyone to publish or pay attention to. The British aren't happy with him and want to throw him out, but after a meeting with Bill D
Linda Wright
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
World War II is raging throughout Europe, but for Detroit Free Press journalist, Mickey Connelly, the story is in Egypt. Maya is a Jewish refugee who ends up in Cairo as a stop on the way to freedom for her and her family. Their chance meeting sets this novel in motion.

Lately, I've been reading alot of historical novels. I'm enthralled by stories of the World Wars. The setting in Africa is a fresh approach and it's a part of history I was not familiar with. All good things.

City of the Sun has t
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Juliana Maio was born in Egypt but expelled from the country with her family during the Suez Crisis. She was raised in France and completed her higher education in the United States, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley, and receiving her Juris Doctor degree from UC Hastings.

Juliana practices entertainment law in Los Angeles and has represented internationally reno

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