Romance, intrigue, legend and adventure meet in this Lebanon-set classic gothic romance by beloved author Mary Stewart.
Legend has it that when the Gabriel Hounds run howling over the crumbling palace of Dar Ibrahim, high in the Adonis Valley of Lebanon, death will follow on their heels. When rich, spoilt Christie Mansel arrives at the decaying palace to look after her eccentric Aunt Harriet, she arrives to the sound of howling dogs. The palace is riddled with hidden passages and the servants are unwilling to let anyone see Harriet during the day. It seems the palace hides an extraordinary secret . . . one that somebody is willing to kill to keep.
The deep blue oblong of sky above the open court was pricking already with brilliant stars. No ugly diffusion of city light spoiled the deep velvet of that sky; even hanging as it was above the glittering and crowded richness of the Damascus oasis, it spoke of the desert and the vast empty silence beyond the last palm tree.
'A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors.' Harriet Evans
(P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
Customer ReviewsSee All
I Don’t Know
Mixed feelings about this book. It gave me 60’s vibes, and sure enough the copyright at the end says 1967. I would just pin the hashish down to the era but the romance is slightly...different. It is sweet but also weird. Surely first cousins marrying was illegal by 1967 in England? Especially first cousins who are the children of identical twins? In theory they could share 50% of their dna. I realize dna is a fairly recent discovery but I also know that many people held reservations about close cousins marrying, at least as early as the late 1800’s. Had the book named them as second cousins, which a reviewer on another site claims was the relationship in the originally published novel, I wouldn’t have thought a thing about it. Anyone reading Mary Stewart, or Agatha Christie, or Georgette Heyer, or any other British author from the first half of the twentieth century is completely unsurprised when second and third cousins marry. Not so first cousins, who are children of identical twins. On the other hand, the relationship was so well-drawn that I came away from the book merely confused. I’m giving this book three stars because for maybe the first time ever, I’m not sure what I feel about a book.
**Edit: After writing this review I looked up laws in the U.K. about first cousins marrying, and apparently it is legal to this day. There are some interesting articles on scientific discoveries in this area, and how they affect cultural and social mores-back in the day, negatively, and recently science has put a more positive spin on this issue. So maybe give the book a shot. It is Mary Stewart, after all!