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Secret of the Sands Paperback – 3 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847561993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847561992
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"History is a treasure chest which contains not only facts and figures, archive material and artefacts but stories. I love the stories."
Sara Sheridan was born in Edinburgh and studied at Trinity College, Dublin. She works in a wide range of media and genres. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She has also received a Scottish Library Award and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. She sits on the committee for the Society of Authors in Scotland (where she lives) and on the board of '26' the campaign for the importance of words. She's taken part in 3 '26 Treasures' exhibitions at the V&A, London, The National Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. She occasionally blogs on the Guardian site about her writing life and puts her hand up to being a 'twitter evangelist'. From time to time she appears on radio, most recently reporting for BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent. Sara is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers Association. A self-confessed 'word nerd' her favourite book is 'Water Music' by TC Boyle.

Product Description

Review

Praise for Secrets of the Sands:

‘This well-paced story brings the perfumes and landscape of Arabia shimmeringly to life.’ -- The Daily Mail

‘A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.’ -- bookbag.co.uk

'Secret of the Sands is distinguished from other genre offerings by the care paid to historical detail.' -- Financial Times

Sheridan's last novel, the Secret Mandarin, was our top historical romance of 2009. Meticulously researched and rich in period details, Secret of the Sands is on course to be the favourite of 2011.
-- Daily Record

Praise for The Secret Mandarin:

‘A truly sumptuous, action-packed Oriental adventure that might just be our favourite historical romance of the year.’ -- Daily Record

‘An enchanting story that draws you in… perfect for whiling away the hours on a rainy day.’ -- Closer

‘If you like mystery, history, love and adventure then this book is for you!’ -- Scottish Home & Country

‘A very enjoyable voyage to the Far East.’ -- Weekly News


About the Author

Sara Sheridan is an historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle – and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers (1820 – 1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. An occasional journalist and blogger, Sara appears on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and blogs for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She is a twitter evangelist and a self-confessed swot. Sara sits on the Committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland where she lives and also on the board of the UK-wide writers' collective '26' and took part in the acclaimed 26 Treasures project in 2010 at the V&A, in 2011 at National
Museum of Scotland and in 2012 at the Children's Museum, Bethnal Green.
She is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers
Association. Sara also mentors for the Scottish Book Trust.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on 30 April 2011
Format: Paperback
One of my favouite books of the year by miles. Beautifully paced and utterly captivating, you are quickly drawn into the heady and intoxicating atmosphere of the 19th century Arabian desert for an adventure of epic proportions. Sara Sheridan is a magnificent storyteller - as in The Secret Mandarin, this novel weaves painstakingly researched historical detail with sympathetic characterisation and an uncanny ability to bring far-off places and times to life on the page. I was totally engrossed in Wellsted and Zena's story, and particularly liked the feisty Farida, with her quick wit and penchant for incognito excursions into the the Muscat souks. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this book snapped up for a movie or TV screenplay - it's certainly got the perfect ingredients for it.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Eastman VINE VOICE on 8 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is 1833. William Wilberforce has brought about the abolition of slavery within the British Empire, but elsewhere others are less fortunate. Zena, a beautiful and headstrong young Abyssinian girl, is captured by slave traders and brought from her home village to Muscat, where she becomes the property of Lieutenant James Wellstead, an ambitious British naval officer, who is there surveying the Arabian Peninsula. When he embarks on a mission to rescue two fellow officers, Zena is in the party which travels with him into the desert. It is a journey that will change both their lives.

Hearing that three letters, written by James Wellstead and held in the John Murray archive at the National Library of Scotland, inspired Sara Sheridan to write Secret of the Sands, piqued my interest in this book. I wanted to see how the author handled a novel which was centred around a real person and what she knew about him from his letters and journals but which was also a fictional imagining.

After reading a few pages, it became clear that James Wellstead was in extremely capable hands. Sara Sheridan is a consummate storyteller, moving from Abyssinia to London to Bombay to Muscat and into the desert or along the Arabian coast with ease. She conjures each place with its accompanying sights, sounds and smells, so that you feel as if you are right there, and then peoples it with a diverse range of characters. I admired the central characters of Wellstead and Zena, who may come from totally different backgrounds but who both find the strength to adapt to their environment and devise ways of coping with whatever trials and hardships they have to face.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By lizlochness on 5 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
Neither history nor romance are my normal choice but this historical romance novel based on slavery and the British Empire has the right balance of history and tugging of heart strings. I just had to keep turning the pages and am now so hooked that I'm looking forward to reading The Secret Mandarin and learning all about Tea and China too....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dot on 16 May 2011
Format: Paperback
In the historical note at the back of the book, Sara Sheridan explains that Secret of the Sands belongs to the 'faction' genre. The author read the real life accounts of naval officer, especially those of Lieutenant Wellstead and then has created the story around them. In some ways I wish I had known this at the beginning as I think it would have made the book even more interesting knowing that the characters actually existed.
However, Secret of the Sands is excellent, it is quite different from what I normally read but I really enjoyed it. Sara Sheridan has written a believable and entertaining story and packed it with rich details. I loved the descriptions of the people, the food, the landscapes, the dialogue, the religion, even the smells. There is a lot to take in during the book but I felt as though I had been given a breathtaking tour of the Arabian Peninsula.
I don't want to tell you too much more about the story, the blurb says it all and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. What I will say though is that the characters in the book are extremely well created, there are a lot of characters both British and Arabic and the differences and similarities that Sara Sheridan highlights are fascinating.
Zena was probably my favourite character. She is stolen from her village by slavers but shows tremendous resolve and bravery at the fate that has befallen her. When she comes under the care of Lieutenant Wellstead she can see that he is a kind man but she had no idea of the kind of feelings he would stir in her. Zena realises that she will do anything for Wellstead and this loyalty is greatly tested on several occasions.
Secret of the Sands is a romantic adventure, the story jumps from Britain, to Muscat to the wilds of the Arabian desert. I have found myself thinking of this book long after I finished the last page so I would highly recommend that you check it out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daiva on 14 Nov 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is my second book by S.Sheridan and oh my, it was a really good one! The author does her research well - when I read the book I felt as if I was there too. I have now bought all her books and cannot wait to start a new adventure!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JF Student on 8 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved Sara Sheridan's Secrets of the Sands. The characterisation is really convincing, it's a great story and beautifully written. Strongly recommended!
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