A captivating spy story… very well written and constructed, with well-drawn characters.
- Courier Mail

A fast-paced and thrilling read
- West Australian

A provocative book in which every sort of dogma is turned on its head
- Sunday Mail

The Alexandria Connection - Adrian d'Hagé

From the back cover:

In the shifting desert sands of Egypt, rumours abound of a lost papyrus that will reveal the true purpose of the Pyramids of Giza. Could these ancient monoliths be the source of a new kind of energy, one that comes at no cost to the planet? CIA agent Curtis O'Connor and archaeologist Aleta Weizman are determined to find out.
Close by, a shadowy and powerful group known as Pharos meets in Alexandria, its membership a closely guarded secret. Its first order of business: to orchestrate chaos on international financial markets with a series of spectacular terrorist attacks on the world's fossil-fuel supplies.

And in Cairo, amid the anarchy of Tahrir Square, thieves have broken into the famed Museum of Antiquities and stolen one of the world's priceless artifacts: the mask of Tutankhamun. Is the audacious theft linked to the Pharos Group?


Conspiracy theories about a New World Order abound, but what, I wondered, if those massive gyrations on the world stock markets were being orchestrated?  What if a small, powerful group were making money from those precipitous rises and falls because they knew in advance?

The Research and Background

Ancient parchments – learning the art of making papyrus

I started in Alexandria.  At the outset, we find O’Connor and Aleta in Alexandria’s old Souk el-Attarine.  Aleta  has a lead on some ancient parchments, and she drags a reluctant O’Connor down a side alley.

‘Do you have any older documents?’ Aleta asks the young girl, after they had been shown how the ancient Egyptians made papyrus.

‘We do, but they’re in the cellar,’ she says, leading the way toward a heavy wooden door.  ‘My father’s at prayers, and he doesn’t come down here anymore … the papyri have been here for a very long time.  The shop was started by my great grandfather.’

Hotel Cecil - Alexandria . - Pic: Simon Skidmore

Back in their hotel room in Alexandria’s Hotel Cecil where Churchill, Somerset Maugham, Al Capone and a host of other ‘dignitaries’ had stayed, Aleta can hardly contain her excitement over the two papyri she has discovered in the old basement – the lost Horus Papyrus, and even more importantly, a map dating back to when Alexander the Great had founded the city.  But more is to come, once O’Connor and Aleta begin their dive, and search the ruins that lie at the bottom of Alexandria’s ancient harbour.

Meanwhile, across the Mediterranean, Sheldon Crowley is deep within the vaults of his fifteenth century Château in the mountains of Corsica, viewing his stolen art collection.  The chairman of EVRAN, the largest energy and arms conglomerate on the planet, is one of the wealthiest men in the world and he has long been a collector of stolen artifacts.  Art theft amounts to in excess of $6 billion a year, and only a small portion is recovered. 

Vermeer’s The Concert

Amongst Crowley’s stolen masterpieces are Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, the Dutch master’s only seascape and Vermeer’s The Concert.  Valued at over $300 million, The Concert is the most valuable master ever to disappear from public view.  On 18 March 1990, two thieves posed as Boston police officers responding to an alarm.  They overcame the two guards and working from floor to floor, they made off with 13 priceless works. Crowley also had a priceless collection of stolen Egyptian artifacts, but one icon was missing: the mask of Tutankhamun.

Once a year, one of the most secretive and powerful groups in the world met in Alexandria.  The Pharos group consisted of fourteen men and one woman: mega-wealthy and powerful.  In addition to Crowley, the group included a former head of the world bank, the world’s most powerful media baron, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the head of the world’s largest merchant banking conglomerate.  One the wall behind them hung a framed quote from the twenty-sixth president of the United States:

The Mask of Tutankhamun - Pic: Carsten Frenzl

‘Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an Invisible Government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no allegiance to the people.’
Theodore Roosevelt,  1858 – 1919

Pharos controls enough of the world’s banking to influence the bourses, and if, for example, an oil shock were known about in advance, that control could be increased exponentially.

3,000 kilometres to the east lies one of the most vulnerable oil choke points on the planet – the Strait of Hormuz.  At its narrowest point, between Oman and Iran, the strait is less than 30 nautical miles wide.  Only two shipping channels are available – one into the Persian gulf linking one of the world’s largest oil terminals – Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura – and one allowing an exit into the Gulf of Oman.  An average of 14 tankers a day exit the strait, representing 35% of the world’s seaborne oil trade and 20% of the world’s total oil trade.The Leila is a 300,000 tonne Lebanese flagged supertanker, headed toward the Gulf  of Oman.  At 500,000 tonnes, the Atlantic Giant is even bigger, and she is headed into the Persian Gulf.  Following her in is the 100,000 tonne Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Truman.  Escorted by the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg, an array of destroyers and two nuclear submarines, the Truman, carrying ninety aircraft, is headed in to join the U.S. Fifth Fleet. 


‘Abdullah Hadid, the master of the Leila, rubbed his eyes.  He had been on deck for nearly twenty-four hours … but he would not hand over to the officer of the watch until the massive tanker was clear of the Strait of Hormuz. …

Not far from Bandar-e Abbas, on the shores of Iran, Omar Yousef climbed a rocky outcrop and focused his powerful binoculars on the shipping lanes.  Yousef could not believe the images in the twin lens.  It was beyond his wildest dreams.  “Alhamdulillah!  Allah be praised,” he cried …

“Fire One! Fire Two!”  The booster rockets on the state-of-the-art weapons propelled the missiles from the launch tubes in an explosion of fire and smoke, their guidance fins extending as they exited.’

Meanwhile, in Alexandria, O’Connor parked in a narrow laneway, a hundred metres from the perimeter fence of the Kashta Palace, put on his balaclava and leather gloves and scanned the area with his night vision goggles.