1884 - and in Khartoum, on the banks of the Nile, the Courtneys meet the Ballantynes...
In the Sudan, decades of brutal misgovernment by the ruling Egyption Khedive in Cairo precipitate a fierce and bloody rebellion and Holy War headed by a charismatic new religious leader, the Mahdi or 'Expected One'. The British are forced to intervene to protect their national interests and to attempt to rescue the socres of British subjects stranded in the country.
Along with hundreds of others, British trader and businessman Ryder Courtney is trapped in the captial city of Khartoum. It is here that he meets Captain Penrod Ballantyne of the 10th Hussars, as well as the British Consul, David Benbrook, and his three beautiful daughters.
The earth burns with the quenchless thirst of ages, and in the steel blue sky scarcely a cloud obstructs the relentless triumph of the sun.