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A captivating page-turner that vividly evokes Saudi Arabian society and introduces an original new hero.
When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing and is found drowned in the desert outside Jeddah, Nayir—a desert guide hired by her prominent family to search for her—feels compelled to find out what really happened. Gentle, hulking, conscientious Nayir soon finds himself delving into the interior life of a wealthy, protected teenage girl in one of the most rigidly segregated of Middle Eastern societies. To gain access to the world of women, Nayir realizes he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab technician at the coroner’s office and the fiancée of Nouf ’s brother. In the course of working with Katya and uncovering the mysteries of the dead girl’s mind, Nayir must confront his own desire for female companionship—and the limitations imposed by his beliefs. …[more]
Among the well-to-do families of Jeddah, Palestinian-born desert guide Nayir is an outsider. But when Nouf ash-Shrawi, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a wealthy Saudi dynasty, disappears just before her arranged marriage, Nayir is the man the Shrawis trust to bring her home.
Days later Nouf’s body is found in a desert wadi, but Nayir’s task is not over; he feels compelled to uncover the disturbing circumstances surrounding her death. His search takes him far from his natural terrain, away from the endless dunes and empty skies of the desert and into the city of Jeddah, with its oppressive monuments, foreigners’ compounds and shuttered apartments. Most troubling of all, his investigations force him to work closely with Katya Hijazi, a forensic scientist. He finds himself struggling with emotions he has fought all his life to repress and with loyalties he has never before questioned: to old friends,…[more]