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The Mistress of Abha: A Novel
     

The Mistress of Abha: A Novel

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by William Newton
 

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The year is 1930 and the British are in Arabia. Ivor Willoughby, a young Orientalist, embarks on an ambitious quest to find his father, an officer abroad with the British Army. In all of Ivors life, Robert has returned to England only once, bedraggled and wild-eyed with tales of Asir, a land of Sheikhs and white-turbaned bandits, where he is fighting alongside Captain

Overview

The year is 1930 and the British are in Arabia. Ivor Willoughby, a young Orientalist, embarks on an ambitious quest to find his father, an officer abroad with the British Army. In all of Ivors life, Robert has returned to England only once, bedraggled and wild-eyed with tales of Asir, a land of Sheikhs and white-turbaned bandits, where he is fighting alongside Captain Lawrence and is known by the name Ullobi.

After that single meeting which left such a mark on his son, Robert is never heard from again. Ten years on, Ivor must find out what became of him. So he sets out on the journey of a lifetime. Travelling to Cairo to join the Locust Bureau, then circuitously to Abha, Yemen, and along the Red Sea coast, Ivor searches everywhere for clues about Ullobi, but no one appears to remember him. Or perhaps they are afraid to admit to it. Along the way Ivor hears whispers of a woman warrior called Naema who was once a slave. Her story seems tantalisingly connected with his fathers, and Ivor finds himself in the misty heights of Ayinah looking for an Abyssinian seer who was carried on the same slave ship as Naema in 1914 and might unlock the mystery...

In this dazzling epic, William Newton brings to life Lawrences Arabia in fascinating and vivid detail. The Mistress of Abha is a tale of Empire, of wild daring, of devastating love and an utterly surprising heroine.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608193615
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

Meet 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.
William Newtons 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. The Mistress of Abha is his second novel. William Newton died in March, 2010.

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The Mistress of Abha 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
Mistress of Abha, William Newton The book begins in the early part of the 1900's. A young boy, Ivor Willoughby, desperately missing his military father, who is stationed in the Middle East in a territory from which he cannot return for regular visits and eventually, for none at all, makes it his life's dream to one day, grow up and search for him. He follows his father's path into the military and when he posts to the same region, discovers that his father is somewhat of a legend, called Ullobi, but no one will either discuss him or else no one really knows where he is currently. However, his adventures precede him wherever he turns up. Coincidentally, he runs into people who knew his father and begins to piece together a history for him complete with a female warrior of fantastic strength and courage whose identity is hidden for her own protection from the Wahhabis, who would punish her if they knew she was a warrior. Told with a subtle humor and hints of historic memory about the birth of the various nations of the Middle East and their quest for domination and/or independence, this story moves along, almost like a fantasy. At times, I am not sure if the memory is one related to reality or a supernatural being. Some of the words are confusing since they origin is from Arabia and the language is foreign. Sometimes I felt as if I was dropped into the cauldron and had to figure out what else was in there with me. Bits and pieces of the story are told in flashbacks by the characters he meets. Fortunately, there is a list of characters and descriptions in the front of the book. This is really helpful when trying to sort it all out. There is also a map and a list of tribes, all of which are really necessary to reorient yourself in the book, now and again. Although I did not find it an easy read, as it moved around sometimes seemingly at random, I was always drawn back into the story by the beautiful way it was written.