The Gabriel Houndsby Mary Stewart
It's all a grand adventure when Christy Mansel unexpectedly runs into her cousin Charles in Damascus. And being young, rich, impetuous, and used to doing whatever they please, they decide to barge in uninvited on their eccentric Great-Aunt Harriet—despite a long-standing family rule strictly forbidding unannounced visits. A strange new world awaits Charles
- Editorial Reviews
- Product Details
- Related Subjects
- Read an Excerpt
- What People Are Saying
- Meet the author
It's all a grand adventure when Christy Mansel unexpectedly runs into her cousin Charles in Damascus. And being young, rich, impetuous, and used to doing whatever they please, they decide to barge in uninvited on their eccentric Great-Aunt Harriet—despite a long-standing family rule strictly forbidding unannounced visits. A strange new world awaits Charles and Christy beyond the gates of Dar Ibrahim—"Lady Harriet's" ancient, crumbling palace in High Lebanon—where a physician is always in residence and a handful of Arab servants attends to the odd old woman's every need.
But there is a very good—very sinister—reason why guests are not welcome at Dar Ibrahim. And the young cousins are about to discover that, as difficult as it is to break into the dark, imposing edifice, it may prove even harder still to escape . . .
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.84(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Gabriel Hounds
By Mary Stewart
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Mary Stewart
All right reserved.
No vain discourse shalt thou hear therein:
Therein shall be a gushing fountain;
Therein shall be raised couches,
And goblets ready placed,
And cushions laid in order,
And carpets spread forth.
--The Koran: Sura LXXXVII
I met him in the sunset called straight.
I had come out of the dark shop doorway into the dazzle of the Damascus sun, my arms full of silks. I didn't see anything at first, because the sun was right in my eyes and he was in shadow, just where the Straight Street becomes a dim tunnel under its high corrugated iron roof.
The souk was crowded. Someone stopped in front of me to take a photograph. A crowd of youths went by, eyeing me and calling comments in Arabic, punctuated by "Miss" and " 'Allo" and "Good-bye." A small grey donkey pattered past under a load of vegetables three times its own width. A taxi shaved me so near that I took a half step back into the shop doorway and the shopkeeper, at my elbow, put out a protective hand for his rolls of silk. The taxi swerved, horn blaring, past the donkey, parted a tight group of ragged children the way a ship parts water, and aimed without any slackening of speed at the bottleneck where the street narrowed sharply between jutting rows of stalls.
It was then that I saw him. He had been standing, head bent, in frontof a jeweler's stall, turning over some small gilt trinket in his hand. At the blast of the taxi's horn he glanced up and stepped quickly out of the way. The step took him from black shadow full into the sun's glare, and, with a queer jerk of the heart, I saw who it was. I had known he was in this part of the world, and I suppose it was no odder to meet him in the middle of Damascus than anywhere else, but I stood there in the sunlight, gazing, I suppose rather blankly, at the averted profile, four years strange to me, yet so immediately familiar, and somehow so inevitably here.
The taxi vanished into the black tunnel of the main souk with a jarring of gears and another yell of its horn. Between us the dirty hot street was empty. One of the rolls of silk slipped from my hands, and I grabbed for it, to catch it in a cascade of crimson just before it reached the filthy ground. The movement and the blinding colour must have caught his attention, for he turned, and our eyes met. I saw them widen, then he dropped the gilt object back on the jeweler's stall and, ignoring the stream of bad American which the man was shouting after him, crossed the street towards me. The years rolled back more swiftly even than the crimson silk as he said, with exactly the same intonation with which a small boy had daily greeted his even smaller worshipper:
"Oh, hullo! It's you!"
I wasn't a small girl any more, I was twenty-two, and this was only my cousin Charles, whom of course I didn't worship any more. For some reason it seemed important to make this clear. I tried to echo his tone, but only managed to achieve a sort of idiotic deadpan calm. "Hullo. How nice to see you. How you've grown!"
"Haven't I just, and I shave nearly every week now." He grinned at me, and suddenly it wasn't the small boy any more. "Christy love, thank goodness I've found you! What in the world are you doing here?"
"Didn't you know I was in Damascus?"
"I knew you were coming, but I couldn't find out when. I meant, what are you doing on your own? I thought you were here with a package tour?"
"Oh, I am," I said, "I just got kind of detached. Did Mummy tell you about it?"
"She told my mother, who passed it on to me, but nobody seemed very clear what you were doing or just when you'd be here, or even where you'd be staying. You might have known I'd want to catch up with you. Don't you ever give anyone your address?"
"I thought I had."
"You did tell your mother a hotel, but it was the wrong one. When I rang them up they told me your group had gone to Jerusalem, and when I telephoned there they referred me back to Damascus. You cover your tracks well, young Christy."
"I'm sorry," I said, "if I'd known there was a chance of meeting you before Beirut . . . Our itinerary was changed, that's all, something to do with the flight bookings, so we're doing the tour back to front, and they had to alter the Damascus hotel. Oh, blast, and we leave for Beirut tomorrow! We've been here three days now. Have you been here all the time?"
"Only since yesterday. The man I have to see in Damascus isn't coming home till Saturday, but when I was told you'd be about due to arrive here, I came straight up. As you say, blast. Look, perhaps it's a good thing they've turned your tour arsy-versy--you needn't go tomorrow, surely? I've got to wait here till the weekend, myself, so why don't you cut loose from your group and we'll do Damascus together and then go on to Beirut? You're not bound to stay with them, are you?" He looked down at me, raising his brows. "What on earth are you doing in a package tour, anyway? I wouldn't have thought it was exactly your thing."
"I suppose not, but I got a sudden yen to see this part of the world, and I didn't know a thing about it, and they make it so easy--they do everything about bookings and things, and there's a courier who speaks Arabic and knows the score. I couldn't very well come on my own, could I?"
Excerpted from The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart Copyright © 2006 by Mary Stewart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
Meet the Author
Mart Stewart is one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she is admired for both her contemporary stories of romantic suspense and her historical novels. Born in England, she has lived for many years in Scotland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews