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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If you are unfamiliar with the author Warren Adler, as I was, don't hesitate to pick up Mother Nile. Mr. Adler is an incredible writer and Mother Nile is an utterly engrossing story. How engrossing? In my eagerness to learn how the book ended, oblivious to the mosquitoes feasting on me after sunset, I turned the pages of that last chapter holding my breath. It was completely dark outside when I finished. What a read!
Like most of Warren Adler's novels...there are over 50 of them...this one deals with intimate human relationships. Set primarily in the Cairo of today, a young man, Si, short for Osiris, is consumed by the need to find out what happened to a sister he didn't know he had, Isis. Do those names ring a bell? It might if you ever studied myths. Osiris, an Egyptian god, (who was eventually murdered by his jealous brother) married his sister, Isis. But fear not. Mother Nile isn’t about incest. It’s about the love of a son for his mother, who tells him of Isis’ existence on her death bed. In his journey to discover the truth behind what happened to his sister, Si comes close to losing his own life and that of a female companion, Samya, with whom he falls in love. Si’s search for the truth brings about the deaths of many who help him find it, the last thing he expected or wanted. With so much loss of life, by the time his search is over, he questions why he ever began. Does he find Isis? To tell you would spoil your enjoyment of this marvellous story.
Mother Nile unfolds through the eyes of Si, the voice of his mother, Farrah, and the revenge filled mind of the man she spurned, Zakki. When Zakki met Si’s mother, a beautiful belly dancer, he was the right hand man of King Farouk…yes, the real life king of Egypt who was eventually overthrown and lived in exile in Italy. Zakki brings Farrah to Farouk as his temporary whore. When Farouk tosses her aside, she is pregnant with his child, Isis. The dark and frightening Zakki claims Farrah for his own, but she despises him. When Zakki separates her from her baby, Isis, the grieving Farrah disappears, never to be seen by him, or her child again. And therein lies the mystery that propels Mother Nile to its dramatic conclusion.
I was so impressed by this book, I had to research Warren Adler. Readers might be familiar with his book which became a movie, The War of the Roses. Adler, now 88 years old, is still going strong, and was one of the first authors to embrace the opportunity to self-publish his books. Today, he has built up nothing short of an empire in his achievements. It’s worth looking him up to read about all he has done. Way too much to list here. A final word on Mother Nile: it’s not for the squeamish. There’s a lot of real life ugliness in this book, much of it centred on child and female sexual abuse. The descriptions of the rotten hand dealt to women in Farouk’s Egypt make one bristle. But those of us who aren’t afraid of the truth know that what we read in Mother Nile is sadly still very much alive and thriving today in every culture and society. Mother Nile is an awesome read.