By Lynn Willoughby
Sandstorm ~ Michael Asher
It is 1946 when a plane crashed in Africa. Fourteen year old Billy comes to and finds himself alone in the wreckage. There is sand as far as he can see and no one comes to rescue him.
The war, Nazi gold, MI-5, heroes, pilots, secret agents, spies, private investigators, family drama all become part of this story. However, the narrative that is most real concerns the Reguibat (a Moorish tribe of Yemini origin).
These desert nomads are exotic and honourable beyond belief. Their age old customs, foods, dress, valuable camels, travel, loyalty, historic enemies and wars against the pagan, dog-hunting Nemadi made this book a really interesting read.
There is a lot going on, much of it predictable. Nevertheless, the time and the location carry much of the story line. The descriptions of the desert in the heat of the day or by moonlight, are exciting. The animals and the flora that have made this harsh environment their home, also add to the storyline. Life in the desert is the creative tension, the theme and the true brilliance of this book.
Honour and loyalty – whether among Nazi thieves hoping to retrieve their treasure and restore Nazism to glory, or among the Arab tribes whose lives have not changed much since “The Time Before Time”, are what carry this work. This is an easy and enjoyable read.
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