Sand Daughter
by Sarah Bryant

Berkley Trade paperbacks, 2009. ISBN 978-0-425-22980-4.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 10/24/2009

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Romance; Fiction: Thriller

In the book, Sand Daughter, by Sarah Bryant, the reader travels back in history to the time of the Crusades. The Christians, known as the Franji, with their Templar Knights, are battling to retain their hold on the Holy Land while the Bedouin tribes of the Fertile Crescent are battling for Islam.

In this drama, told from the unique Islamic point of view, we meet a Bedouin Princess named Khalidah and her childhood friend Bilal. Both are to be pawns in a cat and mouse game that spans the Arabian deserts and mountains. When Khalidah is being bartered into a marriage to help unite clans, a strange minstrel enters the game and evokes ghosts of her long dead mother, rumored to be one of the mythical Jinni. By escaping with this mystery man, Khalidah embarks on a journey to find the truth of her mother's past and her own heritage.

Bilal, who had thought he loved Khalidah, betrays her escape plans and becomes a pawn in his own right as the fate of his own mother is held over his head. He is forced into the position of becoming a double spy for both the Franj and the Arab tribes, but finds himself confused about his loyalties as he falls in love with the Sultan's youngest son. Who will he be forced to betray—his mother, his childhood friend, his tribe, or maybe even his new lover?

Bryant's lyrical style of telling a story gives such vivid descriptions that the reader is left spell bound and determined to find out the fate of her fascinating characters. This blend of history, romance and thriller gives a fresh look into the history of the rise and fall of many Holy Land occupations by the Jewish people, the Muslims and the Christians.

Sarah Bryant is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and now lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband, daughter, son, horse, dog and cats. In her free time she knits obsessively, plays and teaches the Celtic harp and runs a small press specializing in handmade mixed-media books. To find out more about Bryant and her previous novel, The Other Eden, visit her website.

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