No ordinary historical tale

2011-04-06 00:00

HOPING to solve the long-standing mystery of what happened to his father­, a soldier and romantic adventurer who had served under the legendary Colonel T. E. Lawrence in his campaign against the Turks, Ivor Willoughby — the narrator of this story­ — bids farewell to his ancestral home in England and heads off to the Middle East.

Initially his journey, which takes him from Cairo to Yemen and along the Red Sea coast, seems doomed to failure as no one appears to know anything­ about his father and if they do they are not talking. A chance meeting with a former slave girl changes all that. Not only is she able to fill in some of the gaps, but she also points him in the direction of the one person who may be able to solve the rest of the puzzle.

Set in the thirties, when the importance of oil and the changes it was bound to make to Arab society were still to be felt, author William Newton faithfully animates the time and place, and his portrait of the Bedu people and the desert they inhabit is loving and full of detail. Although he does plunge with a storyteller’s relish into the action scenes, the book is far more than just an ordinary historical tale of derring-do.

Beautifully touching and quietly assured, there is a strong elegiac timbre to the writing and a wealth of historical and geographic detail, but never so much as to obscure the narrative.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.