Shadows on the Nile
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London, 1932. Jessica Kenton, twenty-seven, thinks she has her life firmly under control, but it is torn apart when she learns that her brother, Timothy, a renowned young Egyptologist with the British Museum, has inexplicably vanished. Twenty years earlier, during a night that still haunts her, Jessie's adored brother Georgie also disappeared. Driven by her childhood guilt at never having found him, she sets off on a quest to track down her second missing sibling. She is helped in her search by clues left in mysterious places-clues based on the beloved stories of Sherlock Holmes, whose novels she shared with both of her lost brothers when they were young. And the clues convince her, in the face of evidence to the contrary, that Tim must still be alive.
Desperate to solve the mystery of his disappearance, she decides to travel to Egypt, accompanied by a dashing, if impoverished, aristocrat. But in this strange and alien place of dust and desert, Jessie also falls helplessly, deeply in love-and as her defenses are stripped away, she is forced to face the demons that drive her.
Kate Furnivall was born in Wales, has worked in publishing and TV advertising, and now lives by the sea in Devon, England, with her husband, with whom she has two sons. This is her sixth novel.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books play a prominent role in Shadows on the Nile. When Tim took Jessie to the British Museum, she said, "Lead on, my intimate friend and associate." How is this Sherlock Holmes quote a theme for the book? How are the stories of Sherlock Holmes a catalyst for the plot development?
- Timothy Kenton's girlfriend tells Jessie that her brother considers her his uraeus, the cobra on a pharaoh's headdress to protect him from harm. How is Jessie Tim's protector? Are there other protectors in the story?
- Shadows on the Nile is set in 1932. Would the story be different if it took place in the present day? If so, how?
- Jessie and Monty witness a riot in London protesting the Means Test. Fareed and his men are rebelling against British colonialism in Egypt. How is Jessie caught in the middle of both rebellions? How does each affect the plot?
- When Jessie finds out that Tim is missing, she thinks, "You have no idea what my brother means to me. You have no idea that losing Timothy is like losing part of myself." Is there anyone in your life who you would risk your life to save? Why do you think Jessie feels so strongly, and how does it affect her actions? Discuss.
- How are parent-child relationships portrayed in Shadows on the Nile? Sibling relationships?
- Why do you think the author chose to include chapters from Georgie's point of view? How does this make the book different than if it had all been in an objective voice?
- At the end of the book the reader discovers that Georgie believes he needs to earn back Jessie's love. Why do you think he feels this way?
- Would you describe this book as a historical romance, a mystery, or both? Which genre do you think is most relevant? Why?
- Jessie's mother says about Georgie, "That boy is incapable of love." Do you agree or disagree? Why?