EleanorT wrote: "The Sword and the Cross" by Fergus Fleming
this is terrific. Fleming writes exciting to read historical accounts rather in the style of Peter Hopkirk's various books around the secret service battles between Britian and Russia for India, the jewel in the crown. Notably "The Great Game" .
Sword and the Cross is about the differing (French) military and Christian attempts to influence and colonise the deep Sahara around 100 years ago. Mostly doomed to failure, and it's required reading if you want to know more about the Touareg's extraordinary story of resilience. The French spent decades trying to link their colonies in North Africa with the Sudan to the south, and the Touaregs just had them for breakfast every time until....
Good looking list of recommendations Eleanor