ANTHONY O'NEILL is the author of SCHEHERAZADE, a revisionist Arabian Nights adventure, and THE LAMPLIGHTER a tale of the macabre. His books have been published in twelve languages. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Anthony O'Neill's two previous novels-Scheherazade and The Lamplighter-have introduced him as an author with a taste for the atmospherics of history. The Empire of Eternity confirms and enhances this reputation. This is a complex, original tale weaving together five major characters and a timeline spanning more than 40 years-and a backstory dating back millennia. Napoleon's fascination with Egypt is well-known, but what O'Neill adds is the tantalising idea that, like many leaders before him, Napoleon was drawn to Egypt not entirely for military or political reasons but in order to discover the secret of the Chamber of Eternity-a hidden temple that contains all the secrets of the Pharaohs and the key to the future. In 1799 Napoleon sends his trusted deputy Denon in search of the Chamber. By 1854 Napoleon is dead, but a new ruler with global ambitions-Queen Victoria-wants to know the secrets of the Chamber. Her agent is the young Scots archaeologist Alex Rhind. As Rhind negotiates his way toward the Chamber-literally and metaphorically-a seed of doubt is sown in the reader's mind: who is leading whom astray? O'Neill's skill lies in holding off the revelation of the solution until the very end. And I'm not going to ruin the surprise. Tim Coronel is the editor of BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER