The events of the novel Shepherd Dogs date back to the Mamluk era, at a time when Mamluks were faltering under sway of the Revolt of Cairo during the French Campaign to Egypt, witnessing the waning of the Ottoman Empire, and the waxing of Muhammad Ali. These events take place in the chaotic years of turmoil during a dark forgotten epoch of Egypt’s modern history, between the evacuation of the French Campaign in 1801 and Muhammad Ali’s ascension to the rule of Mahrousa (Egypt) in 1805. The novel explores these dark times of plots and conspiracies woven in halls of the Citadel and palaces of the Mamluk rulers, as well as ruling councils. What do Shepherd dogs symbolize? That question haunts the reader from the very start of the novel. Dogs are not always protecting the herd with the shepherd. Whenever a sheep is slaughtered, the dogs’ craving is revealed, and they all stand in turn awaiting their share of meat, discarding all false pretences of protection and care. It is the year 1803, the place is the Citadel in the heart of Cairo, which the public used to be call the government house of Mahrousa (Egypt) 200 years before our time. The French campaign has left, and the Revolt of Cairo has raged and dissipated abruptly. Things look peaceful on the surface, but it is the calm before the storm. There is a deepening tear in the fabric of Egyptian society, engulfing people of every caste: Mamluks and Egyptians, notables and laymen, merchants and people of influence down to the bare-footed paupers dwelling street and alleyways of Cairo. Even the Copts, who fought the French alongside Muslims, were apprehensive about a possible deception. Everyone was restless, sleeping with one eye open. The Turkish Shepherd sat his dogs loose all across Mahrousa. Remnants of the Mamluks were building up their power with their eyes on the throne of Egypt. Sparing no efforts to reach their goal, they assembled their forces in anticipation of a last chance battle with the shrewd Muhammad Ali, who by now had the final say amidst the Egyptians. Astana was secretively supporting the Mamluks while keeping a watchful eye on Muhammad Ali. For such purpose, they used their prefect, Khisro Basha, who has proven to be weak and supple. He was succeeded by Ahmed Basha Khorshid, who was reluctant to take sides, which led to his final demise and ouster from the throne by Muhammad Ali and his men. In the backstage lurked the French and English consuls, keeping an open eye and a scheming mind while formulating their decisions, pulling the string of puppet rulers of Egypt and forging alliances with Mamluk heads. Anarchy was rampant. It was easier to kill a man than to chase a fly. Egyptians were barely eking out their daily living, yet stashing arms, dreading the Mamluks and resenting them. They were eager to rise in a second revolt against Mamluk rule, but were curbing their enthusiasm in fear of bloodshed. Their only ally was Muhammad Ali and his small army. He has proven to be a tactful leader who managed to manipulate everyone, maintaining a fine line with every leader of the Egyptians and anyone who could lend him a helping hand. Against such a breathtaking eventful background emerges the main characters of the novel, Hassan Erroumi and Kamal Seif Edawlah, two half-brothers born to the same Egyptian mother. Hassan Erroumi is the son of an Egyptian father and works as a divan (counsel) clerk. He is a noble revolutionist whose heart is never tainted by politics nor overwhelmed by fear of death, which he witnesses every day at the hands and paws of the shepherd dogs, who foremost among them is his own half-brother, Kamal Seif Edawlah. The latter is born to a Mamluk father and works as Cairo deputy Inspector. He is blunt, despotic, bribes-devouring Mamluk who would remorselessly crush anyone standing in his way toward authority and wealth and the realization of his ambition to become the Cairo Inspector. Yet he is haunted by fear for his life, which grips his heart and dictates his decisions, despite his ever present guards surrounding even his bedroom. A bitter struggle ensues between the two brothers along the novel’s chapters that reaches the climax of Hassan Erroumi leading resistance forces against the Mamluks, becoming a menacing phantom destabilizing Kamal Seif Edawlah’s position and diminishing his influence. Hassan narrowly escapes his brother’s clutches of death, only to resume the unraveling of Mamluk’s conspiracies, which comes with a surprise every time. A faint beam of romantic light finds its way into the middle of this bleak and bloody struggle. Nourseen (a female name meaning moonlight) emerges to dissipate some of the darkness enveloping everything. This Egyptian character falls in love with Hassan, who adores her in return. She is a slave girl at Hassan’s mother palace by the Giza Nile. She is exposed to great hardship at the hands of Kamal Seif Edawlah and his wife Wardshan, with the palace turned into barricade as a result of Kamal’s paranoid fear for his life. Yet we see her managing to assist Hassan in his endeavors of flight across the chapters. Hassan is forced into hiding after being declared dead by his brother. He flees to the desert in upper Egypt, where he dwells among outlaws and robbers. He is surprised by the strict code they live by, the breaking of which is punishable only by death. Their lifestyle resembles that of wolves, and in a wolf’s hide he clads himself. Hassan mingles with the thieves, assuming their way of life and takes them to the city in a small army to fight Mamluk ranks fleeing south. He is also forced to raid commercial caravans with the robbers, but withdraws in the final moment. Hassan takes a liking to the outlaws philosophy of life, embraced by their leader Selim Abu Diab, a hardened killer and a cattle thief who ran away from the Mamluks as well. But Hassan can never transform himself into a similar wolf. After nine months in their company, he sloughed the wolf’s skin, and was reborn into the man he truly was, with the rebel inside him arising above all else. He maintains the habit of recording all historical events he witnesses, in belief that history does repeat itself, but no one ever learns the lessons it teaches. Our humanity is tested each time the annals of history are recounted to us, but greed and arrogance blind us to the lessons we should learn. The novel portrays life in Egypt during those times with meticulous details and distinctive uniqueness. We witness actions of Egyptian Copts who upheld social cohesiveness, shedding light on the role of Jacob the assistant, who is the disciple of master Girgis Eggohary, and Youssof El Faqeer, who together with Jacob helped Hassan Erroumi complete his mission of wiping out the shepherd dogs, the last of which is Hassan’s own brother. Hassan captures his brother and declares him dead, only for history to come full circle at a very close level. Kamal is locked in a dungeon away from all people’s eyes after Muhammad Ali accepted the rule of Egypt. Hassan hides his brother to spare his life as Arnaout soldiers are unleashed by Muhammad Ali to eradicate all Mamluks on the verge of a historically famous citadel slaughter, followed by widespread bloodshed in Cairo streets and houses. Now with the situation reversed, as the Mamluk era came to an end and as their survivors fled to Sudanese borders, Kamal Seif Edawlah remains in the dungeon. His hiding place is revealed to Lazoghly Basha, commander of Muhammad Ali’s army. Everyone is captured. Hassan is imprisoned, and Kamal Seif Edawlah is beheaded. The remaining son of Kamal, whose name is Nagi, is sent to France to an educational mission. The novel ends with the young lad on board a ship reading his uncle’s Hassan Erroumi manuscript, where events are recorded in detail since the arrival of Muhammad Ali in Egypt to fight the French, till he was proclaimed by the sheikhs and the public as the new ruler of Mahrousa. Some of the factual details of these events never appeared in the official annals of history. No hope is left for remedy and reconstruction except through learning; alas history would run its inevitable course ever again. And only a few realize this fact. Throughout 355 pages we wade into the deep sands of ancient times, a historic atmosphere that immerses us deeply into the social life found in houses, streets, and courtrooms of Egypt. We witness corrupt rulers of the times, hear the roar of battles at the outskirts of Giza and Cairo, walk through popular fairs, coffee houses, prisons, corridors, and halls of the government house in the Citadel, where schemes and plots were contrived and plans laid to ascend the throne of Egypt from 1803 to 1811. The author takes us along the journey of the novel protagonist, Hassan Erroumi, where historical events intertwine with subtle literary narrative, to recount the story of Egypt’s rulers, avaricious and ambitious to sit on its throne, all of whom echoing the same mundane rhetoric of “It’s now time to settle down,” a wish that never came true. Ashraf El-Ashmawy, a judge of the court of cassation, has worked for 17 years as criminal investigator at the District Attorney’s office. He was delegated for 7 years as legal counselor to the Ministry of Antiquities for bilateral international treaties and regaining smuggled antiquities. He also served as deputy head of the Illicit Gains Panel. As a novelist, he has four published titles: Time of the Hyena, Toya, The Guide, and The Barman, the latter released in January 2014, won the best novel award from General Authority for Books that year. He also wrote a documentary book on the looting and smuggling of Egyptian antiquities under the title Legitimate Looting, which was translated into German.