The Cairo Code
The Cairo Code was a bestseller when originally published as The Sands of Sakkara. A corpse found floating in the modern Nile causes Colonel Harry Weaver’s mind to drift back to the Second World War, the time period which forms the greater part of the story. Before hostilities send the trio to fight on different sides of the conflict, Weaver became best friends with Rachel Stern and Jack Halder while excavating ancient tombs; they carved their initials together on a pyramid. These characters are meant to be believable as scholars interested in preservation? The reader wonders. This is one of a few corners shaved off to keep the thriller pages turning. Most of the time the reader is willing to suspend disbelief for a plot the author fleshed out from hints discovered at an SS general’s Nuremberg trial.
Rommel and his Afrika Korps having been driven from Egypt, Weaver, an American, is stationed in his old stomping grounds. His most important duty is to protect the lives of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, who have come secretly to negotiate the invasion of occupied Europe and an end to the war. Halder and Stern, their families held hostage in Germany by the Nazis, head a team charged with infiltrating and assassinating the Allied leaders to U-turn the tide of war.
The part I enjoyed best was a view of intelligent, sympathetic Germans taking actions that lesser books in the genre would find a way to portray as merely mindless evil.