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 By an extraordinary coincidence, taking the same boat from Alexandria was an unpublished French writer, Gustave Flaubert.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