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Secret of the Sands

by Sara Sheridan

A complex story, part historical, part mystery, part romance. A young lieutenant in the British Army sets off across the Arabian desert in search of two comrades held captive by some Bedu tribesmen. It's 1883, slavery is still rife and he is accompanied by a young Abyssinian slave girl called Zena and they fall in love. The historical detail and colourful description - of the cruelties and hardships - make a marvellous background for romance.

Extract

Zena’s temper flashes suddenly and she stamps her foot onto the hot stones. The Nubian raises his hand as if to strike her. No-one in the street even notices as she pulls back, cowering. The Nubian sighs and then desists, not wanting to mark the girl before his master can inspect his property. He jerks his head to indicate that she is to follow and when he pulls the rope again she is tame once more and they turn the corner past the preparations for Ibn Mohammed’s caravan on which she looked down so loftily only a few minutes before.

Parallels

The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn
A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory
 

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