by Captain W. E. Johns


First published May 1938




“In using a background of historical fact for fiction an author invariably lays himself open to criticism”.  Johns sets out how little is known of the assumed facts and he has “assumed the lost army and the Lost Oasis to be where they best suited my purpose”.




There is NO list of illustrations in this book. (It contains a Frontispiece by Howard Leigh and six illustrations by Jack Nicolle on pages 99, 111, 121, 143, 205, 237 and a map of the Libyan Desert on page 59)


PROLOGUE  (Pages 9 – 20)


The book opens with a two part prologue set in 525 B.C.  The first part starts with Mazeus, son of Hystomannus, at the Oasis of Khargah, in Upper Egypt regarding “with brooding eyes the endless sands”.  “Cambyses, conquering son of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, was on the march, adding more and more territory to his wide-spread kingdom”.  The army have taken Egypt.  Mazeus’s father approaches him and tells him that the army is going to move into the desert to sack the Temple at Ammon.  Mazeus asks how many men are going and is told fifty thousand.  The second part then has the Persian army marching out with Mazeus carrying a lance.  For three long days and nights the army travel then a sand storm hits them.  Mazeus finds a cleft in some rocks to take shelter in.  When he awakes in the morning, the army has been consumed by the desert.  He drives his lance into the sand with the blade upwards so his father can find him but dies in the desert at the foot of the lance.