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Secret of the Sands

by Sara Sheridan

eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on Secret of the Sands

An excellent novel set in Arabia in the mid 1800s.  Based to some extent on fact, but with believable fictional input, the book ties in a strong set of characters, both English and Arab, who are three dimensional and solid. The contrast of eastern and western culture is very well portrayed. Written in the present tense to give the narrative an immediacy and pace, the first third of the book deals with the lives of slave traders and their captives, one of whom is the beautiful Abyssinian Zena and then to the expedition to Arabia by Lieutenant James Wellsted who goes to the rescue of two captured Englishmen in the desert.   His future lies ahead in the shape of the slave girl Zena, who he comes to own. Their adventures together and subsequent parting  hold the reader’s attention, for the love story becomes integral to the plot - a sense of it being risky adding another dimension to the action packed tale. The subject matter is not frivolous and Sara Sheridan shows that she is a great story teller as she takes us through the pages.  A great read.

Secret of the Sands Synopsis

She was a slave. He was her master. Both of them long to be free!


1833 -- The British Navy are conducting a survey of the Arabian Peninsula where slavery is as rife as ever despite being abolition. Zena, a headstrong and determined young Abyssinian beauty has been torn from her remote village, subjected to a tortuous journey and is now being offered for sale in the market of Muscat.


Lieutenant James Wellstead is determined that his time aboard HMS Palinurus will be the conduit to fame and fortune. However, all his plans are thrown into disarray when two of his fellow officers go missing while gathering intelligence in the desert.


By an unexpected twist of fate -- Zena finds herself the property of Wellstead, now on a daring rescue mission into forbidding territory. Master and slave are drawn ever closer, but as danger faces them at every turn, they must endure heartache and uncertainty -- neither of them knowing what fortune awaits them as they make their hazardous way through the shifting sands.


A rich and epic novel that will appeal to fans of The Pirate's Daughter and East of the Sun.

Secret of the Sands Press Reviews

Praise for Secrets of the Sands:


'This well-paced story brings the perfumes and landscape of Arabia shimmeringly to life.
The Daily Mail

'A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.'
bookbag Praise for The Secret Mandarin: 'A truly sumptuous, action-packed Oriental adventure that might just be our favourite historical romance of the year.
Daily Record

'An enchanting story that draws you in! perfect for whiling away the hours on a rainy day.'

'If you like mystery, history, love and adventure then this book is for you!'
Scottish Home & Country


'A very enjoyable voyage to the Far East.
Weekly News

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781847561992
Publication date: 03/02/2011
Publisher: AVON, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847561992
Publication date: 3rd February 2011
Author: Sara Sheridan
Publisher: AVON, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Genres: eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction,

About Sara Sheridan

Sara Sheridan is an historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle - and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers (1820 - 1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. ...

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