"Cairo"," 1912." The Pasha receives an unexpected gift: a traditional Bride Box. When opened, however, the box contains an unwelcome jolt from the past - one which connects with practices long thought dead. At the same time, a little girl is discovered riding under a train from Luxor - and the Mamur Zapt, Head of the Khedive's Secret Police, is called in to investigate. An Englishman squeezed between the demands of a world about to disappear and the emerging needs of a world about to come, the Mamur Zapt, finds himself confronting a political storm as the end of British rule approaches and his investigations uncover a tangled web of family loyalties and betrayals, with its roots in a slave trade long supposed to have been stamped out in Egypt.