DeMille meets with Gamal Abdel Nasser, a military officer who overthrew the first leader installed after the coup. DeMille made arrangements with people who were no longer in charge so he finds he suddenly has to negotiate all over again with Nasser. Nasser becomes prickly.
Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood is plotting to assassinate Nasser. This ongoing turmoil provides the shifting backdrop for Ali’s story of how he had begun working for DeMille as his driver when Ali’s cousin, a member of the secretive Muslim Brotherhood, gets a job working on the movie set as well.
At the end of many of the chapters of Ali’s accounts of that period his grandson will reply with his reactions to the story. He’s initially sympathetic with the radicals who wanted Nasser killed but as the story develops and his own personal situation changes his views become more nuanced.
DeMille’s final film was a massive production. The film’s star Charlton Heston arrives. The author sticks closely to what actually took place on the movie sets. The Brotherhood already botched one Nasser assassination attempt so Sherif, the overzealous cousin, wants to try again, blowing up the set during “this great big Exodus scene, in the daytime.”
Alex is reading his grandfather’s account and begins to realize that like Sherif, he too has been held in a death grip by fanaticism. Will Alex survive? What became of Ali as DeMille’s production was on the verge of detonating? Check out Peter Blauner’s dazzling novel to find out what transpired.
Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at email@example.com.