Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra
Finding himself in Alexandria in the winter of 2010, Peter Stothard, editor of the TLS and former editor of The Times, is forced to contemplate his past in circumstances he does not expect. The aftermath of a bombing and the onset of the Arab Spring place obstacles in his plans to complete a long-delayed biography of Cleopatra. Minded by two guides, whose motives are mixed and mysterious, he visits Alexandria's ancient sites and revisits places and people from his own life, an Essex childhood among military engineers, Latin and Greek at Oxford and journalism high and low in London. In this extraordinary book, part memoir and part travel literature, written against the background of the fracturing police state of Egypt, a man and a woman from the author's school days are as pressing as the political minders of today.