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Egypt, 1977: Oliver, an English geophysicist expert in oil exploration, finds himself unwillingly swept up in a world of political and mystical sabotage after his wife, Isabella, a marine archaeologist, drowns while recovering a mysterious ancient astrolabe she'd been searching for all her life. Oliver embarks on a journey that takes him into the secrets of Isabella's once-wealthy Italian-Alexandrian family, and the powers of the astrolabe itself. Powers he, a fierce sceptic, refuses to accept. Now the reluctant custodian of the astrolabe, and pursued by those keen to use it for their own purposes, Oliver flees back to London. Punk is raging, and sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are all around. When his brother has a drug overdose, Oliver is reluctantly forced to try the power of the astrolabe himself. But in saving his brother's life, he has sealed a Faustian pact. While contact with the mechanism sees Oliver's career blossom, when he returns to Egypt he discovers much darker consequences.
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