Charlatan. Guru. Master of disguise. Ahead of his time, wise beyond his years, a simple opportunist or the great pretender; however you choose to see him, one fact is certain: Dr Ragab is a mysterious man. Talked about by pretty much everyone in 1920s Cairo, only a few get the chance to make his acquaintance, and fewer still -- one person, in fact -- get to study his life lessons. Hertwig is that lucky soul. Or not so lucky, perhaps: not when he finds himself, at the very end of the second world war, imprisoned in a bunker in Germany by a gang of thugs. To make matters worse, it's not just any bunker; it's Hertwig's own bunker, and he's built it to be 100% escape-proof. And yet . . . there is a possible way out. Not in the conventional sense, it's true, but when you're holed up several feet underground, unsure of how long your captors plan to keep you alive, convention isn't necessarily a good thing, as Dr Ragab would be the first to proclaim -- and it's his universal language that may just provide Hertwig with the escape route he needs.
As unconventional as the eponymous Ragab, Robert Twigger's novel takes the reader on a surreal journey, exploring such diverse topics as far right ideologies, middle east mysticism and the art of communicating via food preparation and presentation. Clever, funny and thought-provoking, Dr Ragab's Universal Language is, in every sense, beyond belief: part tall tale and part self-help manual, it is, like Dr R himself, impossible to pin down -- or, indeed, to put down.