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About the book
  • Published: 31 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446474396
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

A Winter on the Nile

Florence Nightingale, Gustave Flaubert and the temptations of Egypt

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By an extraordinary coincidence, taking the same boat from Alexandria was an unpublished French writer, Gustave Flaubert.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 Egpyt: 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.

  • Pub date: 31 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446474396
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the Author

Anthony Sattin

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.

Praise for A Winter on the Nile

“Anthony Sattin's study itself has a dreamlike quality . . . he movingly reminds us of how, in the midst of life, those destined for greatness have no more idea where they are going than the rest of us.”

Sunday Times

“It is a tribute to Sattin's knowledge of Egypt and his skill as a writer that he makes this counterpoint narrative seem so effortless. His protagonists circle without ever touching in a dance through the desert.”


“Running beneath this cavalcade of visionary incidents and skilfully realised tableaux is a subtext about travel as a mystical dislocation.”


“In this entertaining book Sattin makes some important points on the intellectual, emotional and spiritual development of his immortal subjects.”

Mail on Sunday

“Sattin has written a brilliantly assured experiment in biography, a triumph of the historical imagination. Convincingly researched, informed by an unobtrusive first-hand knowledge of Egyptian places, compellingly skilful in the writing, the whole story is illuminated by Anthony Sattin's delicately perceptive sense of character in action.”

Literary Review



“Sattin's account is authoritative, thoroughly researched and pacy . . . this book is a treat.”

Time Out

“Elegant and absorbing, A Winter On The Nile sheds fresh light upon two titans of the age”

Tim Butcher, author of BLOOD RIVER

“Beguiling and impressively researched ... A compelling snapshot of two of the most celebrated figures of the age, before their fame, and of a time when travel was leisurely and scholarly. And it sings with the romance of Egypt”

Traveller Magazine

“If this doesn't win a major book prize, I will eat my sola topi ... Beautifully counterpoints the spiritual travel experiences of the soon-to-be-famous nurse fleeing an arranged marriage, with the much more lubricious ones of the then-unpublished novelist.”

Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller

“In 1849, Florence Nightingale and author Gustave Flaubert visited Egypt. Anthony Sattin's book recreates the transformative steps towards fame these two took as they simultaneously travelled around Egypt”

BBC Lonely Planet magazine

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