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Skeletons on the Zahara - Dean King

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Skeletons on the Zahara - Dean King

Skeletons on the Zahara - Dean King

Some stories are so enthralling they deserve to be retold generation after generation. The ... more

wreck in 1815 of the Connecticut merchant ship,
Commerce, and the subsequent ordeal of its crew in
the Sahara Desert, is one such story. With
Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival,
Dean King refreshes the popular 19th-century
narrative once read and admired by Henry David
Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper and Abraham
Lincoln. King's version, which actually draws from
two separate first-person accounts of the
Commerce's crew, offers a page-turning blend of
science, history and classic adventure.  The book
begins with a seeming false start: tracing the
lives of two merchants from North Africa, Seid and
Sidi Hamet, who lose their fortunes-and almost
their lives-when their massive camel caravan
arrives at a desiccated oasis. King then jumps to
the voyage of the Commerce under Captain Riley and
his 11-man crew. After stops in New Orleans and
Gibraltar, the ship falls off course en route to
the Canary Islands and ultimately wrecks at the
infamous Cape Bojador. After the men survive the
first predations of the nomads on the shore, they
meander along the coast looking for a way inland
as their supplies dwindle. They subsist for days
by drinking their own urine. Eventually, to their
horror, they discover that they have come aground
on the edge of the Sahara Desert. They submit
themselves, with hopes of getting food and water,
as slaves to the Oulad Bou Sbaa. After days of
abuse, they are bought by Hamet, who, after his
own experiences with his failed caravan (described
at the novels opening), sympathises with the
plight of the crew. Together, they set off on a
hellish journey across the desert to collect a
bounty for Hamet in Swearah.  King embellishes
this compelling narrative throughout with
scientific and historical material explaining the
origins of the camel, the market for English and
American slaves, and the stages of dehydration. He
also humanises the Sahrawi with background on the
tribes and on the lives of Hamet and Seid. This
material, doled out in sufficient amounts to
enrich the story without derailing it, makes
Skeletons on the Zahara a perfectly entertaining
bit of history that feels like a guilty pleasure.
--Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com

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Skeletons On The Zahara - Dean King

Skeletons On The Zahara - Dean King

Skeletons on the Zahara A crucial, forgotten chapter of American history--immortalized in ... more

a survivor's firsthand account that became one of
the bestselling books in 19th-century America and
influenced Abraham Lincoln's thoughts on
slavery--is brilliantly retold for a new
generation. Full description

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Product Information for "Skeletons on the Zahara - Dean King" »

Manufacturer's product description

The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub.

Product details

EAN 9780099435921
Type Fiction
Genre Historical Fiction
Title Skeletons on the Zahara
Author Dean King
Edition Paperback
Publisher Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN 0099435926

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Listed on Ciao since 09/06/2009

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