Lord of Light
When a London antiquities dealer has a statue of the Pharaoh Akhenaten stolen by a rival, he hires freebooter Hugh Wilkinson to get it back for him. Hugh’s search takes him to Paris, Istanbul and Cairo, where he finds himself in conflict with dangerous smugglers, but also at cross-purposes with a modern cult of Akhenaten whose leader has his own interest in the Lord of Light. More
“A collector, Mr Wilkinson, is always collecting. This is the nature of the beast.” So says London antiquities dealer Nikos Volanakis, who bought a statue of the Pharaoh Akhenaten from a smuggler assuming that he would be able to sell it to a wealthy antiquities collector for a ten-fold profit. When the statue was stolen from Volanakis’ gallery, he decided to enlist the services of a distant cousin, the Greek-English adventurer Hugh Wilkinson, who had been involved in organizing the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in WWI, to get it back.
Wilkinson, the son of an English father and a Cretan mother, after years of wandering in the Middle East, India and Central Asia, is settled in London but running out of money. He is looking for a way to replenish his bank account that does not include sitting behind a desk, while he is also considering, at the age of thirty-five, the possibility of marriage. When Volanakis offers to pay Wilkinson half of what he paid for the statute if he recovers it, Wilkinson makes a counter-offer: he will find the the statue and return it to Volanakis, but he will then claim half the much larger amount for which Volanakis plans to sell it. Though Volanakis is reluctant, he agrees; and when the bachelor Wilkinson, meanwhile, meets the beautiful American heiress Cecile De Vries, he not only falls for a woman whose father wishes to obtain a titled husband for his daughter, but finds Cecile perversely attracted to him, as well.
Wilkinson’s quest for the statue takes him to Paris, Istanbul and Cairo. He encounters not only the sly American antiquities dealer Jacob Wolfson and the Turkish smuggler Zeki Shad, but also Franz Gerg, a wealthy Austrian banker who has founded a cult of Akhenaten and regards the statue as an incarnation of the Lord of Light, himself. The Austrian will pay whatever it takes to obtain the statue; the smugglers will do whatever it takes to be certain he buys it from them; and Wilkinson finds himself squarely in the middle, which is not the safest place to be . . .