by Abdo Khal - £12.99 Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (2014)
hardback ISBN 13: 9789992179093 | ISBN 10: 9992179090
When an opulent palace is built on the Jeddah waterfront near his poverty-stricken neighbourhood, ambitious Tariq sees a way out of his life of petty crime. He stares longingly at the huge gates, dreaming of the luxuries beyond.
But dream quickly turns into nightmare. The Palace is ruled by an enigmatic Master whose influence in the city is as wide as it is wicked. When Tariq succeeds in being appointed to serve the Master it becomes clear that he has been chosen for a single, terrible task.
Thirty years later, Tariq feels trapped. In between punishing the Masterís enemies through unspeakable acts, falling for Maram, the Masterís beautiful mistress, and resisting his brotherís pleas to return home, he realises that he has become no more than a slave Ė and that there is only one way out.
"Abdo Khal shines a light on life at the bottom of the heap, in Saudi's often forgotten villages. His voice blends image-rich poetic classicism with contemporary patois, which makes for an unmistakably Arab mix"
(Price & availability last checked: January 2020)