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The Mistress of Abha


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Vividly captures the end days of Britain's Empire in the Middle East, with sumptuous landscapes, court intrigue and passionate romance to appeal to fans of Katie Hickman and Sarah Dunant The Two Pound Tram sold over 60,000 copies and won the Sagittarius Award

About the Author

William Newton is a retired doctor who lives in a Jacobean manor house in Oxfordshire which he and his wife have restored. His debut novel, The Two Pound Tram, won the Sagittarius Award, was shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel and sold over 60,000 copies.


PRAISE FOR THE TWO POUND TRAM: 'Very occasionally one comes across a book which, in its unexpected delights, inspires one to leap about wild with praise, and rush out to buy copies for friends. This first work by William Newton, retired doctor, will surely have this effect on many readers ... Newton is a wonderful find, it's my book of the year and I shall give it to everyone for Christmas' Spectator 'I predict that this book will become something of a cult. There is an obvious surface charm to the elegant writing, whimsical story and delightfully Shell-Guide-style jacket. But beneath that it has enough of the unexpected, the unexplained, even the weird, to go on haunting the reader's imagination long after he has put the book down' Country Life 'The Two Pound Tram deserves to be a classic, as much beloved by grandparents as by grandchildren and every generation in between. Don't miss it' Saga 'Enchanting' Guardian

The late Newton's wan second novel (after The Two Pound Tram) combines adventure and the rise of Abdulaziz ibn Saud in prose as dry as sand. After accompanying Lawrence of Arabia in a campaign against the Turks, Robert Willoughby returns to 1918 England for a few days with his adolescent son, Ivor, before taking off and never being heard from again. Ten years later, Ivor embarks on a quest to Arabia to find out what happened to his father, and, soon after arriving in Abha, Ivor hears tales about a legendary ex-slave turned female warrior named Na'ema who may have a connection to his father. Ivor then travels to the seaport of Hali, and from there to the desert oasis of Khurma, where he spends several days in the company of Ferdhan bin Murzak, a prosperous slave trader who sends him on yet another quest toward discovering what happened to Robert. Unfortunately, the mystery's resolution is simultaneously tepid, melodramatic, and unsurprising. The glacially paced adventure is done in by colonial stereotypes, a narrator who stumbles forward without much volition or reflection, and overly stodgy language. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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