‘What the River Knows’ Ending Explained: What Is Whit Planning & How It Involves Inez?

What The River Knows Ending Explained What is Whit Planning What did Inez Fell For

‘What The River Knows’ is a historical-fantasy book released in 2023 following the misadventures of Inez Olivera written by Isabel Ibanez. The story in large part takes place in Egypt where Inez went following the death of her parents who spent the majority of their lives excavating the secrets of ancient Egyptian tombs. Inez at first suspects that there is foul play involved in the death of her parents, as the two were experienced in the desert and the story that her uncle is selling her isn’t holding water. Unfortunately, what Inez finds out is worse than every nightmare and will lead her into a deep rabbit hole that involves the legacy of the entire nation.

On the way, Inez fell in love, she suffered catastrophic losses and learned the depths of her resilience, but did she really find what she was looking for? Since the ending of the book left us with a major plot twist, we’re here to shed some light on it.

Tio Ricardo was innocent all along

Now let’s start our explanation with the person who seemed as the villain for the majority of the book – Tio Ricardo. To say that he and Inez never really had a relationship would be an understatement. To put it in simple terms Inez knew nothing about him and this is why it was so easy for her to believe that he would go as far as to kill her parents to secure their money to further fund his illegal activities in Egypt. Only there was one massive plot hole that Inez missed when she suspected her uncle.

According to the letter and some clues that Inez’s mother left for her, Tio Ricardo was getting rich over the back of Egyptian people by looting their tombs and artifacts and selling them on the Black Market, which would mean that Richardo was pulling in some serious money. Only he wasn’t since Inez herself pointed out on several occasions that Ricardo was using her money as her official guardian to fund his excavations, including the one at Philae. So why on earth would Ricardo kill his sister and brother-in-law for money, when he was already allegedly getting rich on the black market?


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But this is ultimately irrelevant, since by the time the book ends Ricardo is found to be completely innocent. He was secretive regarding his excavations because he wanted to keep Cleopatra’s tomb and artifacts far away from the prying eyes of the public and the Englishmen. He was doing it with the best interest of native Egyptians in mind.

Regarding the death of Inez’s parents, Ricardo was secretive because he truly didn’t want Inez to know that it’s likely that her own mother killed her father and ran away with her lover.

So, what’s next for Ricardo now that Inez is aware of the truth? Well, he will most likely go on to search Nefertiti’s tomb in Amarna which his sister has already allegedly targeted for her next big heist.

What happened to Lourdes & Cayo?

Now the book begins with both Inez’s mother & father dying and it ends with both of her parents possibly alive. We already know that Lourdes was involved in artifact smuggling, only she decided to double-cross her “business associates” and her lover as well which led to some pretty tragic events taking place. Since Lourdes is in too deep with the criminals and she seemingly enjoys the thrill of the hunt, her next target is the tomb of Nefertiti (or so Ricardo thinks) so she presumably went to Amarna to loot some more artifacts, but what about Inez’s father? The cryptic last letter he sent to her, which Elvira and Inez discovered near the end of the book says “Never stop looking for me” which kind of implies that he might still be alive.

Well, based on everything that the book showed us, how Lourdes was willing to sacrifice her niece, her daughter, and her brother, we can assume that she had no trouble sacrificing the husband she did not care about all that much, Cayo is most likely dead. Plenty of references were made over the course of the book that Lourdes married Cayo because of his money despite him being much older than her but they kept up the pretenses of a happy married couple for appearance’s sake, including for Inez’s sake. This was different in Egypt, Lourdes found a lover and eventually got herself involved with a horrific group of people, murderers, and thieves.

Now, if we decided to stretch some facts we can argue that Inez’s father might be alive. First, he might be kept as a hostage by the same group of people that killed Elvira as an assurance to have Lourdes under their control. But if they had Cayo, they wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths to kidnap Elvira right? And since he often argued with Lourdes and their relationship went sour at one point, he would be a pretty bad bargaining chip.

It’s also possible that Lourdes did not kill him, but perhaps did something to him with magical artifacts. Perhaps shrunk him? I know I’m reaching here but that last thing that he wrote to Inez really seems like a major plot twist in the making. Perhaps Cayo was after all involved in some kind of illicit trade just like his wife, and the whole thing was a set-up.

I mean it wouldn’t be the first time that Inez was fooled by the letters her parents sent to her. No matter what she liked to think about herself, Inez’s behavior was extremely predictable, mostly because you could always count on her to be impulsive and bullheaded and to “shoot first and ask questions later.”

Is Elvira really dead?

Elvira is unfortunately dead, killed by Mr. Burton. This wasn’t some kind of elaborate ruse, she really did get a bullet to the face and even with today’s medicine, you can’t really recover from having your skull blown apart. This was a major character growth moment for Inez as she realized that her actions do have real-world consequences and she won’t easily recover from this. That is if she ever eventually returns to Argentina. As long as she doesn’t face her aunt, she won’t have to deal with those consequences and that would be a shame.

Elvira’s final resting place is now Thebes before she ultimately gets transported to Argentina. As far as why she was kidnapped, well this actually has everything to do with something that Inez has done at the beginning of the book, tied to the fact that Elvira and Inez look remarkably alike.


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When Inez was traveling to Cairo by train, she shared a wagon with Basil Sterling, the thief of Cleopatra’s ring and she said her name was “Elvira Montenegro” choosing to tarnish her cousin’s reputation leaving her own intact.

This seemed like such an inconsequential thing and yet it very well might have led to Elvira’s death since Sterling had no idea that Inez was actually in Cairo, the only blood relative in Cairo that Lourdes had, as far as Sterling knew, was Elvira which led to her kidnapping.

Who is the leader of the Company?

Mr. Burton was presented as the boss of the Company but he admitted that even he worked for somebody, and that somebody was most likely Basil Sterling, the guy that stole Inez’s ring at the beginning of the book. He is the only currently known person in the book to have influence, money, and enough will to drive this operation forward. Whit, Ricardo, and Abdullah also mentioned in a couple of instances that he was obsessed with Cleopatra and was possibly searching for her tomb to turn Cleopatra’s remains into some kind of magical potion that would cure him of all ailments and possibly even extend his life.

Who is Whit really & why does he need Inez’s money?

Now we’re getting closer to really uncovering the ending, and I have to admit that line from the Telegraph that Whit wrote still haunts me “She fell for it.”

So before we go on to explain we have to summarize what we know about Whit, and I have to say we know very little verifiable facts. We know that he was from England, and he was the youngest son aka spare, from his family. He was dishonorably discharged after attempting to help his former commander and refusing orders. He was a part of Cairo’s criminal underworld until Richard “saved him,” by giving him the opportunity to earn money legally (and illegally) but with honorable purpose. He was engaged to be married and was practically hiding in Egypt refusing to return back home because the betrothal was still on and his parents were expecting him to make good on his promise. It’s important to note that Whit met his fiance back home only a few times and it was most likely a marriage of convenience for Whit’s family.

Now we’re getting to the thick of it. Toward the end of the book, Whit admits that he is actually a lordling, a Marquess to be more accurate and that his surname is Sommerset. Now, noble families do have a reputation to uphold and it’s quite possible that Whit is forced to marry the girl because his family made a promise and it would be illegal to back out, but it’s also quite possible that Whit’s family is actually broke and is on the verge of losing their noble status.

In the final letter that Whit sent to his brother, he mentions internally that he has found what he was looking for, it’s quite possible that Whit came to Egypt with every intention to get involved in the illegal artifact trading market to acquire some money so he could bail out his family and break the engagement with his fiance back in England. But that wasn’t as easy as he expected so he kind of expects to tag along with Ricardo and maybe something valuable is thrown his way or he gets the opportunity to steal something valuable, whichever comes first.


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Richardo is also most likely aware that Whit’s family is dead broke and that’s why he told him that he would never allow Inez to marry him, if the opposite was true, Ricardo would have no incentive to bar Inez from marrying into English nobility. In any case, Ricardo knows something that we don’t. This is why when Inez mentioned that she needed to get married to access her money Whit was more than happy to offer himself. It seems like his engagement can be broken, for the right sum of money.

Marrying Inez, Whit would get to eat the cake and have it as well, since he was already falling for Inez long before he was aware that she was loaded.

The other theory is that Inez, due to her connection to Cleopatra, can lead Whit to the mysterious scroll he has been searching for for the majority of the book, but this theory seems less likely. To summarize, Whit will marry Inez to get his hands on her money but also because he loves her, eventually Inez will find out about Whit being broke and she will assume the worst which will lead to massive trouble for the couple.

What’s next for Inez?

Inez will most likely marry Whit in the next installment and as I’ve said she will figure out that he needs her for the money and will refuse to believe him that he has real feelings for her.

The fact that Inez will marry Whit will also lead to even more trouble between her and Ricardo since her uncle won’t exactly approve of the marriage and the fact that Whit, who isn’t trustworthy now has access to all of Inez’s money that her parents have left her. Inez will most likely continue searching for artifacts related to Cleopatra, in order to figure out why her father sent her that ring, and she will ultimately discover what exactly happened to Cayo and whether there is even a minuscule chance of him being alive.

There’s also the fact that Inez would have to face her aunt Irena at some point, and that won’t be pretty. Overall Inez’s story is rather predictable, and the ending isn’t really all that mysterious, especially now that we have better insight into Whit’s motivations. Inez will be used on one front by her uncle, on the second front by her love interest, and on the third front by her mother, who is also bound to resurface in the coming installment.

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