Peter Blauner’s research for his book, “Picture in the Sand,” took him from Brooklyn to Cairo a half-dozen times.
Edgar Award-winning author Peter Blauner will discuss his new book “Picture In The Sand” at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 at Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St., Santa Barbara.
Mr. Blauner’s epic is an intergenerational saga told through a grandfather’s passionate letters to his grandson, passing on the story of his political rebellion in 1950s Egypt in order to save his grandson’s life in a post-9/11 world.
When Alex Hassan gets accepted to an Ivy League university, his middle-class Egyptian-American family is filled with pride and excitement. But that joy turns to shock when they discover that he’s run off to the Middle East to join a holy war instead.
When he refuses to communicate with everyone else, his loving grandfather Ali emails him one last plea. If Alex will stay in touch, his grandfather will share with Alex — and only Alex — a manuscript containing the secret story of his own life that he’s kept hidden from his family, until now.
It’s the tale of his romantic and heartbreaking past rooted in Hollywood and the post-revolutionary Egypt of the 1950s, when young Ali was a movie fanatic who attained a dream job working for the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the set of his epic film, “The Ten Commandments.” But Ali’s vision of a golden future as an American movie mogul gets upended when he is unwittingly caught up in a web of politics, espionage and real-life events that change the course of history.
“Picture in the Sand” is the culmination of two decades of writing and research that took Mr. Blauner from Brooklyn to Cairo a half-dozen times. His other novels have included “Slow Motion Riot,” “The Intruder” and “Sunrise Highway.”