On a brief visit to Cairo to support an investigation her fiancé, a Jewish American journalist, has undertaken, Salma is caught up in the machinations of a new, radical Islamist group with a vendetta against her father, a man with his own dark side. A former lover and Islamist, kidnaps her. He forces her to flee with him from Cairo to Aswan in the far south of Egypt. As they navigate the backroads, Salma, a privileged Egyptian-American, finds herself hiding under a burqa, running desert sandstorms and relying on the goodwill of poor villagers.
A page-turner, Escape to Aswan is not only a political thriller but a dramatic telling of the clashes of culture and class in the Arab world.