France, 1856: Emmeline Lambert is married to an illusionist sent by Napoleon III to persuade the Arabs - poised for holy war and in thrall to charismatic leaders - that France's might and magic are the greater. Emmeline begins to feel like an illusionist herself, when she dazzles the Emperor and then sheds her inhibitions along with flimsy notions of patriotism and propriety in the hot glare of the Algerian sun.
Power, politics, religion and love, the court of Napoleon III and the deserts of Algeria combine in this mesmerising novel from a master storyteller.
Brian Moore was born in Belfast. He emigrated to Canada in 1948 and then moved to California. He twice won the Canadian Governor General's Award for Fiction and has been given a special award from the United States Institute of Arts and Letters. He won the Author's Club First Novel Award for The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Great Victorian Collection. The Doctor's Wife, The Colour of Blood - winner of the Sunday Express 1988 Book of the Year - and Lies of Silence were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Six of his novels have been made into films - The Luck of Ginger Coffey, Catholics, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Cold Heaven, The Statement and Black Robe. Brian Moore died in 1999.