The ancient city of Cairo is a feverish tangle of the old and the new, of the superrich and the desperately poor, with inequality and corruption everywhere. It’s a place where grudges and long-buried secrets can fester, and where people can disappear in the blink of an eye.
Makana, a former Sudanese police inspector forced to flee to Cairo, is now struggling to make ends meet as a private detective. In need of money, he takes a case from the notoriously corrupt mogul Saad Hanafi, owner of a Cairo soccer team, whose star player, Adil Romario, has gone missing. Soon, Makana is caught up in a mystery that takes him into the treacherous underbelly of his adopted city, encountering Muslim extremists, Russian gangsters, vengeful women, and a desperate mother hunting for her missing daughter-a trail that leads him back into his own story, stirring up painful personal memories and bringing him face-to-face with an old enemy from his past …
Published on the anniversary of the revolution in Egypt, The Golden Scales is an elegantly written, thrilling story set in a city of upheaval, chaos, and corruption.
Hardcover, 397 pages Published January 31st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 2nd 2012)
ISBN 1608197948 (ISBN13: 9781608197941)
Makana, a broken man who is just trying to make ends meet, is now living on a broken down old houseboat. He was once a detective on the police force but after losing his wife and child he was forced to flee his homeland. Makana accepts a job with pay too high to refuse and discovers that it will lead him down a path to face his own past.
Adil Romario may be the reason that Makana delves into the past of several characters in the story, yet the answers he discovers are far from to do with Adil himself. The answers go back years, to Cairo’s corrupted leaders and gangsters like Saad Hanafi, now a very wealthy and powerful man whose deeds both inspire and terrorize the civilians of the city. However, the real question is why, with all the connections, Mr Hanafi chooses to hire Makana?
Golden Scales has a heavy atmosphere, with the past crashing into the future, and Makana wading his way through a modern day Cairo, where the slums are squashed right up against the pillars of mansions and expensive tourist sites. Religion, politics and money all play important roles in this story. As the setting itself is one of the oldest civilizations in history and involving current day topics, I found the story to be informative as well as entertaining. Makana is a character who’s determination is at times awe inspiring, yet still he acts on instinct without rationalizing his actions. Both characteristics play out well in the story, to add suspense and character growth. He is a very hardened man, but humane at heart.
Golden Scales is a detective novel that encompasses several story lines that diverge and cross, eventually colliding into a well played out mystery of revenge, family, and power.