Author(s): Anthony Sattin
In the winter of 1849, Florence Nightingale was an unknown 29-year-old - beautiful, well-born and deeply unhappy. After clashing with her parents over her refusal to marry, she had been offered a lifeline by family friends who suggested a trip to Egypt, a country which she had always longed to visit.
By an extraordinary coincidence, taking the same boat from Alexandria was an unpublished French writer, Gustave Flaubert. Like Nightingale, he was at the crossroads in his life that was to lead to future acclaim and literary triumph. Egypt for him represented escape and freedom as well as inspiration. But as a wealthy young man travelling with male friends, he had access to an altogether different Egypt: where Nightingale sought out temples and dispensaries, Flaubert visited brothels and harems.
In this beguiling book, Anthony Sattin takes a key moment in the lives of two extraordinary figures on the brink of international fame, and provides a fascinating insight into the early days of travel to one of the greatest tourist destinations on the planet.
Florence Nightingale, Gustave Flaubert and the temptations of Egypt
Anthony Sattin is the author of several highly acclaimed books, including Lifting the Veil, The Pharaoh's Shadow and The Gates of Africa. He discovered and edited two exceptional manuscripts, Harriet Tytler's unique memoir of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and Florence Nightingale's letters home from her journey of self-discovery up the Nile in 1849-1850. For the past decade, he has been a regular reviewer of non-fiction -primarily for the Sunday Times, for whom he wrote a weekly book column for seven years. His journalism and travel writing have also appeared in a range of publications, including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Independent, Guardian, Spectator and Conde Nast Traveller. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on the editorial board of Geographical Magazine. He was recently named one of ten key influences in travel writing by Conde Nast Traveller and was runner-up in the 2007 Travel Writer of the Year awards.