Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary

An Important Passenger on the Taurus Express

It is Sunday at five o’clock on a winter morning in Syria. The Taurus Express train waits at the railway station in Aleppo. Near the steps to the sleeping car is a uniformed French lieutenant; he is in a conversation with a small man who is muffled so completely that only the tip of his nose and the two points of his curled-up mustache are visible. The temperature is frigid, and Lieutenant Dubose has been assigned to escort the “distinguished stranger” to the train.

Dubose does not know much about this assignment, though there have been rumors and his commanding general’s temper has grown increasing worse in recent days. Then this Belgian...

(The entire section is 797 words.)