Review by Erastes
Alex is a reporter, determined to follow a great race through the Sahara and earn his name in his field. What he doesn’t count on is desert cheiftan Alfahl kidnapping him and carrying him off.Alfahl needs and English tutor, and Alex fits the bill. Alex fascinates him, as much for the Arabian Nights style tales he tells as for his sweet body and foreign ways. Can these very different men find enough common ground to last together? Or will they become just another story?
This is an odd little novella and almost defies my reviewing it. It possibly is far more clever than I am giving it credit for, the meaning of it is probably steeped with folklore or something but that may have gone completely over my head.
At first glance it seems like a typical Sheik/slave story, Alex is reporting on the first Trans Sahara road race when his car breaks down and he is captured by Alfahl, a powerful Sheik.
Ostenibly, the men have brought Alfahl an English speaker to help him with his language but it’s soon clear that Alfahl has more on his mind than vowels and he refuses to let Alex go.
Alfahl nicknames Alex “the Rabbit” for reasons that escaped me (as I said, perhaps the whole book went over my head) because I considered Alex to be (‘scuse the pun) quite spunky and he stood up to his kidnapper, wasn’t afraid to make a deal with him when a lot of people might have been a little more terrified. Alfahl is “the Stallion” which is hyperbole whichever way you cut it.
Alex borrows Scherezhade’s trick of tale-telling (because, hey, every Sheik falls for that trick, right?) and it works beautifully. Alex’s ravishment is gradually put off until he starts to tell tales that excite both of them.
On the surface that’s just about all it is, but I think personally it’s more than that. There is some beautiful writing here, and the gradual increasingly sexual scenes are genuinely erotic rather than verging anywhere near porn. For those reasons I have kept the e-book (which is rare for me) and I intend to read it again because it haunts me a little. I do have a small quibble that a white man and a reporter can go missing in the desert and no-one actually bothers to look for him, but that’s just me.
That being said, this book has the feeling more of an allegory, (although I’m too dim to work it out) and less of a narrative and I personally liked that feeling as I was unsettled throughout and still am.
Well worth the $3.95 that it’s on sale for, and I wouldn’t mind reading more of this author, if there is any.