One of Us

David Freeman, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0490-3
Set in Egypt before and during WWII, this novel of colonial decay edges toward sentimentality but retains poise and balance. Screenwriter and novelist Freeman (A Hollywood Life) brings together two narrators, James Peel, 22-year-old tutor to Egypt's Crown Prince Farouk, and Vera Napier, an unconventional and intuitive young Brit caught up in Foreign Office politics and palace intrigue. Both narrators have their eyes on the Crown's High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Malcolm Cheyne. A hero to Peel, the widowed, sophisticated diplomat is a goal to the flirtatious, randy Vera. In the meantime, she torments the neglected teenaged Prince Farouk, whose adolescent libido, license, car lust and silly riddles continually frustrate Peel's pedagogical efforts and the diplomatic machinations of Sir Malcolm. The British aren't the only ones who have a hard time reining in the exuberant, disconcertingly endearing youth: his presence inspires Freeman's few lapses into formula and overwriting. The rest of the time Freeman's leisurely pace--and the distinct voices of his two narrators--manage to blend love triangles, political intrigues and desert atmospherics with graceful ease and a minimum of contrivance. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7867-0591-7
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