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.