Blood and Sand

Rosemary Sutcliff, Author Hodder & Stoughton $22.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-340-41518-4
The Ottoman Empire (that ``Sick Old Man of Europe''), is the setting of an aptly titled novel that examines the loyalty between men that helps makes warfare bearable. Thomas Keith, a Scottish soldier during the Napoleonic wars, is captured in 1807 in the Nile delta by Turkish forces under the Egyptian viceroy. With no reason to rejoin the English forces, he is persuaded to become an officer in the viceroy's army. Training for desert warfare, and witnessing the fellowship and piety of the Bedouin troops, he converts to Islam. During a long but unsuccessful campaign to free the holy cities of Mecca and Medina from forces hostile to the Turks, Thomas commands a troop of cavalry, marries a girl he has rescued and serves as amir (governor) of Medina, making a close friend of Tussun Bey, the viceroy's son. Loyalty and friendship are the strong thread on which Sutcliffe strings her stirring narrative--most of it based on historical fact. In this veteran British author's hands, what might have become merely a harsh tale of violence in the deserts of Arabia becomes a memorable, sensitively rendered story. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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