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The world changes for Ethan Gage onetime assistant to the renowned Ben Franklin on a night in postrevolutionary Paris when he wins a mysterious medallion in a card game. Framed soon after for the murder of a prostitute and facing the grim prospect of either prison or death, the young expatriate American barely escapes France with his life choosing instead to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, on his gamble to conquer Egypt. With Lord Nelson's fleet following close behind, Gage is entangled with generals, archaeologists, and mystics. And in a land of ancient wonder and mystery, with the help of a beautiful Macedonian slave, he will come to realize that the cursed prize he won at the gaming table may be the key to solving one of history's greatest and most perilous riddles: Who built the Great Pyramids ... and why?