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Category Archives: Desert Rhapsody
A historical generational saga set in the Arabian Peninsula.
Basheh’s debut opens with a scene of the young, but great and mighty Harb preparing for battle. Harb’s victory cements his reputation and brings his army glory and wealth. The victory, however, is bittersweet as the warrior loses his closest friend. Among Harb’s spoils of war is Fareedah, a captive woman who later becomes his wife. She vows never to love him, a vow she is in danger of breaking until Harb cruelly murders their young daughter. Soon enough, the two become parents to two sons, Sakhr and Mazin, as well as another daughter, Itimad. A boy from the village Imru spends time with Sakhr and Mazin and becomes a sort of adopted son to Harb and Fareedah. As Harb, thanks to his fondness for drink, becomes more or less complacent, the story follows the new generation in their exploits. But a dark stain hangs over this family: It causes Sakhr to die after falling from a horse, and it causes Harb, in a rage, to slay Imru. Murder, treachery and jealousy abound in this world that is so unlike and yet in some ways very similar to our own. Poetry excerpts appear at the beginning of most chapters, and at times, Basheh’s writing has a poetic style to it: “The wind was humming a melody with the sand. It was a song that only virgins who were in love sang in secret.” This shorter novel spans decades of time, shifting viewpoints throughout. As a result, some characters seem more sharply drawn than others. That said, all the characters have a complexity that makes them compelling if not always likable.
Sixth-century Arabia comes to life in this novel about a powerful family and the heartbreaks they endure.
“[The Arabs] lived in tents and were barbarians and warlike; numerous were superstitious and they were the most ignorant of all the peoples of the earth.”
— a late sixth century resident of Mesopotamia
During the 6th century in the Arabian Peninsula, Harb, like the other warriors of that time, scrapes a living by raiding other tribes of equal stature—until the day he convinces his allies to raid the great tribe of Aghlib. On the day of the battle, he holds his blade in his hand. It shines brilliantly under the bright desert sky and he smiles back at it. He leads the charge against the men of Aghlib, not knowing or caring that his selfish acts will have dire consequences.
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Desert Rhapsody is currently available at the kindle store and smashwords at an introductory price of .99 instead of the original price of 3.99
Get it before the end of July.
The novel is set in 6th C. Arabia just before the emergence of Islam.
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