What the River Knows

Isabel Ibanez

What the River Knows
Hodder & Stoughton
United Kingdom
31 October 2023

What the River Knows

Isabel Ibanez

The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in this lush, immersive historical fantasy set in 19th century Egypt, filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.

Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera belongs to the glittering upper society of nineteenth century Buenos Aires, and like the rest of the world, the town is steeped in old world magic that's been largely left behind or forgotten. Inez has everything a girl might want, except for the one thing she yearns for the most: her globetrotting parents - who frequently leave her behind when they venture off on their exploring adventures.

When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian, an archaeologist in partnership with his Egyptian brother-in-law. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, bringing her sketch pads and an ancient golden ring her father sent to her for safekeeping before he died. But upon her arrival, the old world magic tethered to the ring pulls her down a path where she soon discovers there's more to her parent's disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe.

With her guardian's infuriatingly handsome assistant thwarting her at every turn, Inez must rely on ancient magic to uncover the truth about her parent's disappearance-or risk becoming a pawn in a larger game that will kill her.


Set in 19th century Buenos Aires, Inez yearns for her parents, whose long travels to Egypt make her believe their love for a faraway land is greater than their love for their daughter. But when she receives a letter saying that her parents have gone missing and are presumed dead, she has no hesitation in boarding the first ship to Egypt. Upon arriving, she meets a number of new people: an uncle, who is adamant she be sent back home; her uncle’s assistant, who possesses a devilish charm and secrets of his own; a crew of archaeologists; British ambassadors; and more. All of these people are on the hunt to unearth the greatest Egyptian mystery of all: the missing tomb of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh.

When Inez begins to see visions of Cleopatra, and finds past memories trapped in objects by the touch of magic, she pieces together the clues of her parents’ demise. She also learns that some people are, like the River Nile, glittering and beautiful on the surface, but hiding monsters lurking beneath.

As an ancient history lover, I adored that this book showcased how politically, militaristically, and linguistically intelligent and well-educated Cleopatra was. Through Inez’s visions, we see how the stories of women in history have been manipulated and changed, and how we owe it to them to bring the truth to light.

Death on the Nile meets The Mummy in this enchanting adventure that captures the lengths to which people would go to discover the truth, and the price they paid for that knowledge. For ages 13+.

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