Published Jun 2012
1949: Egypt’s struggle against its British occupiers moves towards crisis; Israel declares its statehood, driving out the Arabs; Joe Roberts, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter, Nia, leave Wales for Egypt. Into Suez is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, the bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up to the Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe’s tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he’s a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe’s closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth.