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Desert Royal: Princess 3 Mass Market Paperback – 1 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; New Ed edition (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553816942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553816945
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean Sasson grew up in a tiny town of only 800 people in American's deep south. From the time she learned to read, she was a voracious reader. By the beginning of her teens had read every book in the school library. At fourteen she started her book collection when she bought her first book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer--an unusual choice for a young girl from the Deep South. She not only wanted a good read, she wanted a book that would take a long time to read, to expand her reading pleasure. Therefore she searched the bookshop to find the book with the most pages.

At school Mrs. Sam Jackson, her beloved literature teacher, soon noticed Jean's preoccupation and took it upon herself to make weekly trips to a nearby college library to exchange a selection of books to satisfy Jean's reading needs.

And today? When not absorbed in writing or the business of being a celebrated author, she reads and reads, maybe a book a day--literary success has enabled her to buy many books; no longer selected by the number of pages.

Her literary tastes are widely varied, and she has a long list of favorites. Heading that list is Sir Winston Churchill, the prolific writer and leader of Britain in the dark years of World War II. Other historic figures, like Napoleon Bonaparte and T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), satisfy her two literary loves, history and travel.

The works of Gertrude Bell, Freya Stark and Sir Richard Burton opened her mind's eye to the fascinations and mysteries of the Middle East . . . and those first musings led to her writing success.

No longer content to simply read about this magical part of the world, Jean, armed with hospital administrative skills in addition to her literary thirst, sought and found the ideal opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge--knowledge of that closed and mysterious land, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 1978 she was selected to work at the most prestigious royal hospital in the Middle East, The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in the Saudi capital Riyadh. There her talents blossomed. She became the Administrative Coordinator of Medical Affairs and personal assistant to the hospital medical and executive director, Dr. Nizar Feteih. Through him she was introduced to various Saudi royals, including King Khalid and his Crown Prince Fah'd, who succeeded as King on Khalid's death in 1982.

In 1983, a close friendship between Jean and another royal, Princess Sultana, was forged and years later, based on that friendship, Jean was able to write her widely acclaimed Princess Trilogy. Jean and the princess recently collaborated on a fourth book, Princess, More Tears to Cry, telling the world of the vast gender changes now occurring in the desert kingdom.

Jean worked for four years at the King Faisal Hospital and during that time met the man she was to marry, Peter Sasson, an international man who came from an unusual background. Peter Sasson was a British citizen born in Egypt to a British/Italian father and Yugoslav mother.

Jean lived in Saudi Arabia for twelve years. During those years she devoted herself to activities that would form the bedrock of her career as a writer when she returned to America. She met and made friends with Arab women from the Middle East before leaving Riyadh in April 1991. (At this time Jean and Peter divorced, although they remained close friends.)

After living and traveling in the Middle East for so many years, she felt a special affection for the people of the region. She traveled to Bahrain, The Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and other countries in the area. She visited war-torn Lebanon and Kuwait, before and after the first Gulf War. After Saddam Hussein's army invaded the country of Kuwait, Jean became concerned with the fate of the innocent Kuwaitis who were victims of the invaders. Her concern drove her to contact the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States, Sheik Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, requesting his advice on traveling to areas housing Kuwaiti refugees.

Armed with a letter of introduction from the Kuwaiti Ambassador, Jean flew Europe and the Middle East to conduct interviews with Kuwaitis. While in Riyadh, Kuwait's Minister of Information invited her to fly to Taif, Saudi Arabia, where the Kuwaiti royals had formed a government in exile in that Saudi mountain village. There she interviewed the Emir and the Crown Prince of Kuwait, among other high ranking Kuwaiti officials, rare interviews that were given to few other journalists or writers.

After leaving Saudi Arabia, Jean traveled to Cairo, Egypt and then to London, meeting many dozens of Kuwaiti citizens living in exile. Jean used the invaluable material she gathered about Kuwaitis on the day of the Iraqi invasion, to write her bestselling book, The Rape of Kuwait.

The book sold over a million copies in one month, proving to the world that ordinary people truly cared about the small country and its people. (The Kuwaiti government provided the soldiers waiting to free Kuwait with copies of the books. Jean Sasson was glad that those soldiers could read what had happened in the little country, and to know why they (the soldiers) were there.) It is important to note that Jean Sasson was the first and only author to write about the innocent Kuwaitis who were caught in the cruel grip of the Iraqi invasion.

Her devotion to the cause of freedom for Kuwait won her an invitation to return to Kuwait on the Kuwaiti government sponsored "FREEDOM FLIGHT." Staying a month in the ravaged country, she joined joyful Kuwaitis celebrating their hard-won freedom, even as she mourned with the Kuwaitis who had lost loved ones. Never forgetting what she had seen, over the years she continued her writings and concern about the missing Kuwaitis lost to the Iraqi prison system, despite the many efforts made by Kuwaiti royals as well as ordinary Kuwaiti citizens to gain their freedom.

Her devotion to the people of the Middle East continued, taking her to unusual stories. In 1998 she requested an invitation from Saddam Hussein to visit Iraq. Although she was the author of the book that had greatly displeased Saddam (The Rape of Kuwait) she received a personal invite from the Iraqi dictator. Traveling to Iraq alone and without protection, she saw for herself the privations being suffered by those most vulnerable: the women and children; deprivations at the hands of Saddam Hussein. While in Iraq, she was assigned a woman from one of the leading families of Iraq as her translator, Mayada Al-Askari. Her bestselling book, Mayada, Daughter of Iraq was a result of that trip.

Living in Atlanta, Georgia, Jean wrote book after book. One of the most successful was the Princess Trilogy, a series of books about her friend, Princess Sultana al-Sa'ud, which was named as one of the most important books written in the past eight-hundred years by a woman. The books have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Jean's books have won a number of awards. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, an organization in Dubai which promotes and recognizes cross-cultural understanding, chose Jean's critically acclaimed book Ester's Child as a book that best promotes world peace.

Jean is the author of Love in a Torn Land, the true story of a Kurdish/Arab woman who joined her freedom fighting Kurdish husband in the mountains of Northern Iraq. After being gassed and temporarily blinded, the Kurdish heroine made her way out of Iraq into Iran. After Jean was contacted by Omar Bin Laden, the 4th born and well-loved son of his father, she wrote the story of Omar and his mother and their life with Osama Bin Laden, titled: Growing up Bin Laden, a critically acclaimed book. She later wrote For the Love of a Son, the true story of an Afghan woman who lost her young child to an abusive husband, and spent many long years searching for her son.

Jean returned to the topic of the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait with Yasmeena's Choice: A True Story of war, rape, courage and survival, telling the painful story of a Lebanese visitor to Kuwait who was trapped in the country after the invasion. The woman was kidnapped and held in a special prison housing innocent women to be brutally raped.

Jean wrote and published a small tome, American Chick in Saudi Arabia, telling a few stories about her first two years in Saudi Arabia, in regard to the Saudi women she met. Jean plans on finishing this memoir soon.

Jean recently finished her 4th book on Princess Sultana, titled Princess: More Tears to Cry, soon to be published.

The list of Jean's best-selling published books:

The Rape of Kuwait (1991)
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (1992, updated in 2013)
Daughters of Arabia (This book is titled Princess Sultana's Daughters in the USA.)
Desert Royal (This book is titled Princess Sultana's Circle in the USA.)
Ester's Child (2001) (To be re-released 2015.)
Mayada, Daughter of Iraq (2003)
Love in a Torn Land: Joanna of Kurdistan (2007)
Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's wife and son take us inside their secret world (2009)
For the Love of a Son: an Afghan woman's quest for her stolen child (2010)
American Chick in Saudi Arabia (A sample of her memoir not yet completed.)
Yasmeena's Choice: A True Story of War, Rape, Courage & Survival (2013)

Princess: More Tears to Cry (Release date: August 28, 2014)

With a solid background of first-hand experience and years of travel, research and writing, Jean Sasson has made many appearances on national and international television programs as well as having been featured in many international newspaper and magazine articles. She has a huge following of readers from countries all over the world, which is confirmed by the number of her readers and her enormous social media internet following.

Jean is also working on two other important projects, one a secret project, and the other which will be the completion of her memoir of spending so many years living and visiting in the Middle East. Her long-awaited memoir will reveal her many personal and compelling adventures in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq.


Jean's work has been featured in People, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Post, The Sunday London Times, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, NBC, and many other news organizations.

Here's a personal note from Author Jean Sasson:

First of all I would like to thank all of you who care about the books I write. So many of you take the time to write me a note and for that I am forever grateful. Your care about the women (and men) I write about means more to me than you will ever know.

So many people ask me: why do you care so much about the plight of women of the world? The answer is simple: because I can't help it.

I grew up in the United States, in a small southern town. In my daily experience, women enjoyed full freedom to do as they pleased. During those early years, it was beyond my imagining that women might be discriminated against.

But from a young age, I noticed mankind's occasional unthinking mistreatment of other animals. Such cruelty broke my heart, and I took aggressive action to aid animals in need. Mischievous boys who thought it amusing to tie a bag of rocks to a cat's tail soon learned to avoid me. I cared for a number of animals of my own, including some rather eccentric ones, such as a pet chicken named Prissy that I taught to walk on a lead. Another pet chicken, named Ducky, accompanied me like my little shadow and brought me endless joy. I had a number of cats and, when I grew older, I got my first doggie, a black cocker spaniel named, yes, Blackie! Others - Frisky, Doby, and a Peke named Goo Boo - soon followed.

As I grew older, it seemed that all the homeless dogs and cats in my little town "knew" to gather in our yard, sensing that I could not turn a single one away.

An impulse to save needy animals carried on throughout my entire life, and I was willing to pursue eccentric efforts to save a chained or otherwise mistreated animal. After I moved to Saudi Arabia, our villa in a Saudi neighborhood quickly filled with abandoned dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and even ducks!

Friends who stayed overnight in our home were often confronted with the challenge of sharing their bed with a couple of affectionate cats, of being roused in the morning by songs from caged birds, or of arranging their evening ablutions alongside a surprise in the guest bathroom: a bathtub filled with ducks!

Some people say that my heightened sensitivity is a blessing, while others stamp it a curse. I endorse the "blessing" tag and exult that I've been the joyful "mother" of 31 cats and dogs, the "foster mom" of many others until I could find an appropriate home, as well as the caretaker of too many birds to count. A few years ago a friend from the days of Saudi laughingly confided that my nickname was "The Bird Woman of Riyadh," a title unknown to me during my 12 years of living in the desert kingdom.

In Saudi Arabia, I worked as the Administrative Coordinator of Medical Affairs at The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre. Most hospital reports crossed my desk prior to being presented to my boss who was the head of the hospital. Therefore, I was privy to the details of many human tragedies. But the reports that haunted me most were the stories of women who had been brutally mistreated. And, more often than not, it seems, their injuries had been inflicted by the very men who were supposed to protect them. Many Saudi men, of course, were wholly kind to the females in their family. But there were large numbers of men who felt it their right to lash out at a wife or daughter with cruelty or brutality, the women of the family had nowhere to turn for help. The man's word was absolute law and no outside organization would dare interfere. A woman's helplessness in such a situation is heartrending and nearly unsolvable.

I saw sadness almost every day that I worked at the hospital, most of it associated with women's issues. Unfortunately, there was little I could do - for I, too, was a disenfranchised woman, in a country not my own.

But I met several Saudi women who desperately plotted for change. One was a Saudi princess, a woman the world now knows as Princess Sultana Al-Saud. Understanding her culture well, she described that nothing would crack Saudi men's determination to maintain the status quo...nothing, that is, short of worldwide indignation. For this reason, the princess was fierce in her belief that the story of Saudi women must be told. Most importantly, she wanted her own life experiences to be the story that inflamed the world.

For years we discussed this possibility, but after my book The Rape of Kuwait lent me the clout of a bestseller, we knew the time was right to expose the tragedies that afflict so many women on this earth. By then, we were both mature women who understood that discrimination against women is not limited to Saudi Arabia or to the Middle East, but is a worldwide problem, aggrieving women in Western nations, too. But first we would tell HER story.

Storytelling is powerful. A powerful book or movie can inform and inflame. That is why I think it is wonderful that so many books are now being written about the plight of women worldwide. I support all authors who make this important subject their life's work.

I am proud that PRINCESS was the first book to be written about the life of a Saudi Arabian woman, because Saudi life for females is completely unique and cannot compare with any other Middle Eastern country, or for that matter, any country in the world.

After PRINCESS, I shared other, very powerful stories. After traveling to Iraq in July 1998, I wrote about Mayada Al-Askari in MAYADA, DAUGHTER OF IRAQ. Later I shared the story of Joanna's great adventure, the story of a Kurdish woman's escape from Northern Iraq in the book LOVE IN A TORN LAND. Soon came the compelling story of Osama's wife and son, called: GROWING UP BIN LADEN. My latest account is FOR THE LOVE OF A SON: ONE AFGHAN WOMAN'S QUEST FOR HER STOLEN CHILD, a story that will make you weep and make you laugh. I told a few of my own stories in AMERICAN CHICK IN SAUDI ARABIA. In YASMEENA'S CHOICE, I write about one of the bravest women I've ever met, a Lebanese woman caught up in Gulf War I.

I hope that my books contribute to your learning and understanding about women of the world, and that you, too, work to ensure that every human being - male or female - has the right to lead a life of dignity.

Jean Sasson

For additional information about Jean Sasson and her books, please visit, and on many of these sites, you can write to the author as she enjoys hearing from readers.




Product Description

Book Description

Reissue of the third gripping instalment of Princess Sultana's 'life behind the veil' revelations by the author of the bestselling Princess and Daughters of Arabia.

From the Author

In touch with readers of "Sultana's" stories
If you are reading this third book about Sultana, I know you are a true believer in justice for all women. And, I hope that along the way, you are enjoying a second benefit as you learn about the true lives of women who are hidden behind black veils of secrecy.

Although I have already written detailed comments under "Princess" and "Daughters," I did want to "appear" with "Desert Royal," since so many of my readers have told me that this is their favorite of the three books about "Sultana." I have no explanation for this, other than this extraordinary woman tends to "grow" on you. Whatever the reason, I am very pleased and grateful to you all.

And, if you have finished reading the book, the Princess & I ask that, if at all possible, you all try to help another woman in need. And if you'll only look, you'll find women in need in every country, including the West. If nothing else, please write to people in your government and ask that help be given to the mothers who have lost their children to their Saudi fathers. Little girls such as Heidi, featured in this book, should not be forgotten. Even as I write this, I cringe, thinking of how that little girl, and so many other little boys and girls like Heidi, are missing, and crying for, their mothers. And, how their mothers, such as Margaret McClain, are crying for their children. Surely, this most important issue should receive instant attention from all governments...

Thanks so much for caring,

Jean Sasson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I come to this review from a different direction. As a victim advocate for over 10 years, most recently in the area of the missing children issue, I am aware of some of the tragedies that are taking place in Saudi Arabia. I represent several "Saudimom's", a term coined by mothers who have had their children abducted by non-custodial Saudi fathers. Daily, I witness their frustrated yet valiant efforts to gain access to their children. Their strength and determination is awesome to observe. "Desert Royal" is a call to action to all women to join "Sultana's Circle", to join the "Saudimom's", and to bring the plight of Saudi women and children to the world's attention. This book lays bare the priorities of the Saudi men and their government. It uncovers in detail the relative value of women, in one case even less than song birds rescued from their captivity by Sultana's daughter. It exposes the opulent life style of the Royals. It reveals their supposed devotion to their faith yet recounts the daily betrayal of the Koran and their efforts to redeem their souls through monetary recompense. The book was technically well written, full of detailed, sometimes graphic descriptions and well worth the read. Good Job Jean Sasson!!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 May 1999
Format: Hardcover
As the mother of Heidi Al-Omary, my six-year-old daughter who was kidnapped and is now being held hostage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I read the book with fascination as well as trepidation. It is the trepidation that every mother feels when her child is being abused by an unjust society, and she can do nothing about it. It is the trepidation that my little girl may some day grow up to be sold into a servile form of marriage, or suffer the pain and degradation of female genital mutilation. It is the trepidation of a mother who knows that her child lives in an unsafe environment, where the guns of war are never silent for long. I thank Jean for including my little girl's story in her book, and I pray every day that someone in Saudi Arabia will come forward and report my child's whereabouts to the American authorities so that she can be spared the fate of the typical Saudi woman. The topic of sexual slavery is finally being addressed in this book. It is well known among missing children's groups that certain countries violate pornography laws, as well as human rights treaties which they have signed. Saudi Arabian princes are the chief violators of treaties they have signed, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Maybe the book will create some outrage among its readers, for the behavior that Saudi males have long engaged in is outrageous and should not be tolerated in a civilized world. Jean's book has touched on almost every issue that concerns the parents of kidnapped children. Bravo to her!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
it is one of the good books i have managed to read this year. I really enjoyed it and could't put it down. I have decided to do an essay on this book which will be on the presentation of women in the society and comparing it to either wild Swans" or "do they hear you when you cry" for an A-Level english coursework . This book has really influenced me and reached out to my heart. i recommend everyone to read it. if u don't u'll be missing out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely Fantastic! I spent some years living and working in Saudi Arabia and this book brought forth emotions and memories that touched me very deeply. The author shows an incredible insight into Life in this part of the world.
I could not put the book down until I had read it from COVER to COVER.
Well Done Jean - keep up the fight against injustice!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Sept. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book reveals the dark side of a culture that doesn't treat its women with the respect that they deserve. It's time for our sisters to stand up and claim their rights!!!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By kristine Freeman on 18 Feb. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having lived and worked in Saudi Arabia as a married british woman I have always found this authors books to dig beneath the surface of the Saudi Arabia that most people see on the television or read of in the news.A womans life in this country,even as a westerner is very ,very different to that lived in Europe or America.Some people may think that the author exaggerates for the sake of the story,this is not so.Any woman who has ever lived there for any lengh of time will know of many incidents of abuse,humiliation ,degradation of women by some saudi men.Books like this must be read and belived if anything is to change in this very closed country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Becca on 10 Jan. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
What I found with this book and the other two in the series was that it's a very different culture and these habits, views and opinions have been developed and bred for decades, in regards to the way women are treated. It infuriated me because of the inequality but it's not easy to change things that life and culture are based upon and around for decades but there are changes and you see it at the end with Sultana's son. Her husband (and his brother) is different to most men there. I've come across men in the last couple of years who are either American or British and think they are above women.

I admire Sultana for speaking out and wanting change, I feel she has done this with a lot of grace and style. She has told the story of her life and events that have happened. She has never attacked someone in a nasty manner, she has questioned and made statements about their behaviour. This carries through into Desert Royal and Jean Sasson has done a wonderful job capturing Sultana's life.

Having read the first two books (Princess and Daughters Of Arabia: Princess 2) I was still shellshocked by some of the behaviour of the men. It doesn't make easy reading but there is hope and it's a slow moving revolution but a revolution in process. Sultana's circle (near the end of the book) is a sign of change, especially as some of the husbands agree with the women on the treatment of a young girl brought to a desert camp.
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