Blink of an Eye

( 68 )

Overview

The future changes in the blink of an eye... or does it? Miriam is a Saudi princess promised to another, a pawn in a political struggle that could shift the balance of power in the Middle East. Seth is a certified genius with a head full of numbers, a life full of baggage, and an attitude born on the waves of the Pacific. Cultures collide when they find themselves thrown together as fugitives in a high-stakes chase across Southern California. A growing attraction and a search for answers fuel their fight to ...

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Blink of an Eye

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Overview

The future changes in the blink of an eye... or does it? Miriam is a Saudi princess promised to another, a pawn in a political struggle that could shift the balance of power in the Middle East. Seth is a certified genius with a head full of numbers, a life full of baggage, and an attitude born on the waves of the Pacific. Cultures collide when they find themselves thrown together as fugitives in a high-stakes chase across Southern California. A growing attraction and a search for answers fuel their fight to survive... but with no sleep and a massive manhunt steadily closing in, their chances of surviving any future are razor thin. Insert disc 10 into your PC to access the author interview PDF.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608146024
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,387,016
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories packed with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife, Leeann, and children, Rachelle, JT, Kara, and Chelise.

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories packed with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife, Leeann, and children, Rachelle, JT, Kara, and Chelise.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Miriam swept the purple velvet drape to one side and gazed through the window to the courtyard. The marble palace had been completed just last year and was easily the grandest of her father's residences. She hadn't visited all of them, but she didn't need to. Prince Salman bin Fahd had four wives, and he'd built each of them three palaces, two in Riyadh, and one in Jidda. All four wives had identical dwellings in each location, although to say his wives had the palaces was misleading. Father had the palaces, and he had wives for each.

This, Salman's thirteenth palace, he'd built solely for special events such as today's, the wedding of Sita, one of Miriam's closest friends.

Outside, the sun glinted off a spewing fountain in the center of a large pond. Bright red petals from two hundred dozen roses flown in from Holland blanketed the water. Evidently the groom, Hatam bin Hazat, had heard that his young bride liked red roses. Upon seeing the extravagant display two days earlier, Sita vowed never to look upon another red rose in her life.

Dozens of Filipino servants crossed the lawn, carrying silver trays stacked high with every imaginable food, prepared by eighteen chefs brought in from Egypt. Roast almond duck, curried beef rolled in lamb flanks, liver-stuffed lobster--Miriam had never seen such an extravagant display. And this for the women only. As at many Saudi weddings, the male guests would never actually see the women. Custom required two separate ceremonies for the simple reason that women attended weddings unveiled. The traditional path of the Wahhabi sect forbade a man from seeing the face of a woman unless she was a family member or tied closely to his family.

Sounds of music and drums and gaiety drifted through the window. The world mistook the prevailing cultural practices in the Arabian Peninsula as unfair to women, Miriam often thought. She'd studied at the University of Berkeley in California for three months two summers ago and had first heard there the misconception that a Saudi woman dies three times during her span on earth.

It was said that she dies on the day of her first menses, when she is forced to don the black veil and slip into obscurity; she dies on the day of her wedding, when she is given as a possession to a stranger; and she dies when she finally passes on. She'd been tempted to slap the woman who uttered the words.

Perhaps if the Americans knew Saudi history better, they would hold their tongues. True enough, a woman was traditionally forbidden from some of the activities accepted by the West--driving, for example. Or giving testimony in a dispute. Or walking about freely with her face uncovered. But all of these practices advanced Saudi culture in ways the West did not see. Saudis understood the value of strong families, for example. Of loyalty to God and his word. Of respect for an order that supported both families and God.

Miriam let her mind drift over the events that had placed her and her friend Sita here, in this magnificent palace, where they awaited the ceremony that would change Sita's life as she knew it.

The kingdom's first king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, conquered Riyadh in 1902. He was in his early twenties then. The four kings who had ruled since his death in 1953 were all his sons. But when Miriam looked down history's foggy halls, she decided it was the first king's women, not his sons, who shaped the country. He'd taken over three hundred wives, and it was these women who gave him so many sons.

"I can't believe it's actually happening," Sita said from the sofa.

Miriam let the curtain fall back in place and turned around. Sita sat like a small doll dressed in lace and pink. At weddings, all the women, from bride to servants, shed their black abaayas and veils for colorful dresses. Her eyes were round and dark--so very insecure. Miriam and Sultana had rescued Sita from a flock of aunts busying her for the final ceremony and brought her here, to this room they'd dubbed the piano room for the white grand piano sitting to their right. The carpet, a thick Persian weave with a lion embroidered at the center, swallowed their feet. Evidently the designer Salman hired liked big cats; the walls of the room formed a virtual zoo of cat paintings.

Sita's lips trembled. "I'm frightened."

Sultana, the third in the inseparable trio, ran her hand over the younger girl's hair. " Sh, sh. It won't be the end of the world. At least he's wealthy. Better to marry into palaces than into the gutter."

"He's old enough to be my grandfather."

"He's younger than my sister's husband," Miriam said. "Sara's husband was sixty-two when he took her. I understand that Hatam is no older than fifty-five."

"And I'm fifteen! " Sita said.

"And Sara was fifteen too," Miriam said. "And what about my new mother, Haya?"

That got silence from both of them. A year earlier, Miriam's father had taken Haya as a bride when Miriam's biological mother died. Haya was only thirteen at the time. As was customary, the girl took over the duties of the wife in their household, even though she was younger than those under her charge. Miriam had been nineteen then.

At first Miriam resented the child. But one look at Haya's nervous eyes after the wedding changed her heart. Haya slipped into her role of submissive wife with surprising grace.

But Sita was not Haya.

Miriam looked at her friend's frightened face. Sita was still a child too. A small part of Miriam wanted to cry. But she could never cry, especially not now, just minutes before the ceremony.

Sultana looked out the window. Of the three, she was perhaps the boldest. She was twenty-three and barren. But she was married to a good man who treated her well and turned a blind eye when she spoke out against the marriage of young girls. Sultana's frequent trips to Europe had given her a somewhat Western perspective on that particular practice.

"Haya was two years younger than you," Miriam said.

"I saw him," Sita said softly.

Miriam glanced up. It was unusual for anyone to see her betrothed before the actual wedding.

"You saw the groom?" Sultana asked. "You saw Hatam?"

Sita nodded.

"How?" Miriam asked. "What's he like?"

"Two weeks ago, at the souk." She looked up and her eyes flashed. "He's very large. He'll kill me."

Miriam knew she should say something, but words escaped her. Though she'd made inquiries, she'd been able to learn only that Hatam was a wealthy oil mogul from Dammam on the Persian Gulf.

Sita sniffed and wiped her nose with a frail, shaky hand. She spoke quietly. "I make a vow," she said. "I make a vow today to refuse my husband. He will not touch me while I am alive."

Miriam reached out a hand. "Please, Sita, he'll be kind. Today you'll find your life enriched beyond words, you'll see."

Sita rose to her feet, red in the face. "I'm not ready to marry!" She trembled, a child about to have a tantrum. Miriam felt her stomach turn.

"I swear it," Sita said, and Miriam did not doubt her. "You're almost twenty-one and you're still not married. And you have this secret love with Samir. I hate you for it!" She turned away.

"You don't hate me, Sita. You better not hate me, because you're like a sister to me, and I love you dearly."

Twenty and not married. Rumor had it that dozens of suitors had approached Father for Miriam's hand, and he'd turned them all away. His denial was a sore subject for her.

Sultana placed a silencing hand on Miriam's shoulder. "You can't know how she feels. Salman protects you."

Heat flashed across Miriam's cheeks.

"Both Haya and Sara were married--"

The door flew open and they turned as one. "Sita!" Sita's mother stood in the doorway, white as the desert sand. "Where have you been? They are ready!"

Then she saw Sita's tears and she hurried in, her face softening. "Please, don't cry, child. I know you are frightened, but we all grow up, don't we?" She smoothed Sita's hair and looked at her lovingly.

"I'm afraid, Mother," Sita said.

"Of course. But you must think beyond the uncertainty that you feel and consider the wonderful privileges that await you as the wife of a powerful man." She kissed her daughter's forehead. "He's a wealthy man, Sita. He will give you a good life, and you'll bear him many children. What else could a woman ask?"

"I don't want to bear his children."

"Don't be silly! It will be a great honor to bear his children. You'll see." She paused and studied her daughter tenderly. "God knows how much I love you, Sita. I am so proud of you. Just yesterday you were still a child, playing with your dolls. Now look, you've grown into a beautiful young woman." She kissed her again. "Now, come along. The drummers are waiting."

She slipped Sita's veil over her face. And with that Sita's fears were hidden.

Miriam joined a thousand women in the great hall and watched as the drums announced the groom's arrival. The only men present were the bride's father, the groom (whose father was dead of old age), and the religious man who would perform the marriage.

Hatam walked out alone, and Miriam nearly gasped aloud. Blubber sat like a bloated tube around his stomach, sloshing with each step under a tent of a tunic. The fat under his chin hung like a reservoir of water. To say the man was large would be a horrible miscalculation. He was an obese mountain.

Beside Miriam, Sultana groaned softly. Several women glanced at her, but she ignored them.

The drums beat again. Sita's mother and her aunt led the bride out. Hatam smiled and lifted her veil. Sita stared at him, and in her cloaked defiance, she looked more beautiful than Miriam could remember.

The ceremony lasted only a few minutes. The actual marriage had been performed hours earlier, first with the bride and then with the groom, separately, signing documents that affirmed the agreed upon dowry and terms of marriage.

Now the religious man looked at Sita's father and spoke the token words that confirmed the union. After a nod, he glanced at the groom, who replied that he accepted Sita as his bride. A thousand women broke the silence with joyful ululating. Today the noise sent chills down Miriam's arms. Hatam walked past his new bride, tossing coins to the women. Sita hesitated, then followed.

Hatam led Sita from the room, and Miriam saw that her friend walked like a newborn lamb still searching for its legs.

The women began to move outside, where food, music, and festivity awaited. They would celebrate for another two days after the groom departed with his new bride.

But Miriam wasn't sure she could participate. Not with Sita's oath ringing in her ears. She quietly begged her friend to come to her senses so that she could enter her new life with joy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Blink of an Eye is a more mature version of Blink

    Having read the original version (Blink), i was reluctant to start the remake. At the beginning of reading it, i compared each paragraph to Blink, and found that Blink of an Eye is more mature and subtle, with the same plot, characters, and story line. I was captivated by the book from the very beginning, it isn't one that gets good half way through. The logic discussed throughout the book amazed me in the sense that i had to keep reminding myself that the author was actually the one that came up with this stuff. Overall, it is insightful, deep, and clever, with just a hint of romance.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not your normal princess in distress

    *Note: This book is a updated re-release of Blink which was originally published a few years ago* This was my first Ted Dekker book that I have read. Well, I have read House, his collaboration with Frank Peretti, but this is the first full Dekker book that I chose to pickup. This book was actually different that what I thought was going to happen. I know Dekker's other works are more suspenseful or fantasy-ish. I had watched the movie Thr3e and had enjoyed it very much. Reading this book made me feel like I was watching the nightly news. This plot in this story is so relevant to this day and age. I liked Miriam's character very much. Without a doubt, she's one of the strongest female characters I've read in a while. This is mostly because she lives in an environment where she is not supposed to be strong. I was actually glad that Seth was sort of a dorky character. I think previous stories like this have always had an athletic, brawny, strong guy win the princess's heart. Actually there was even a part of me that was scared that if someone from the Middle East were to read this book, they might get insulted. The book was very well researched with regards to culture. This is also an action packed book, where the results can be quite intense and gory. If you have a squeamish stomach, I do not recommend reading this book. There are several scenes where it's almost too difficult to read because you know that scenes like this are taking place in the world. It brings awareness to the plight that many women live on the other side of the world. It really makes you feel grateful for the freedoms we have in our country. While there is a romance story, there is more than enough action to make up for male readers who hate romance. I would recommend this book to those who like a true, could have really happen story. Will definitely be looking forward to the movie of this book when it comes out.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This Author is Amazing!

    Ted Dekker does it again! Blink of an Eye takes you through many plot twists and keeps you on the edge of you seat through out the book. The audio book is ideal for long trips where you can listen to it for extended lengths of time or you find yourself not wanting to get out of you car. I would recommend anything that Ted Dekker writes!!!

    Mike

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Mind blowing

    Great book! I absolutely loved the depth of the storyline and ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Must read!

    Such a fantastic story! I loved the glimpse into two totally diffrent cultures!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Awesome!:)

    This book was so good-i love ted dekker books and this was one of his best. I definately recommend it...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Best

    Best book ever

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  • Posted January 6, 2012

    Awesome!,

    Love Ted Dekker's books!

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Great story

    Good story; interesting edits on older versio

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Brilliant and Intense!

    Like most of Dekker's books, the reader is thrust into this suspenseful story almost immediately. The action and well thought-out discussions keep you turning the pages late into the night! I finished the book in 2 days! After I finished it, I knew that Ted Dekker was my favorite author and I vowed to read as many of his books as I can. I've already re-read this book as well as Red (the second book in his Circle Series) and Obsessed. WARNING: you will get hooked!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    very suspenseful read

    I ended up reading this in an effort to help my youngest daughter understand it. It was a summer reading project. I got hooked!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 25, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2009

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