Empires of Sand

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9780440236689: Empires of Sand

An epic novel of adventure in the grandest tradition of historical fiction, Empires of Sand takes us on a thrilling, unforgettable journey.

As civilizations collide around two men, a battle begins: for survival, for love, and for a destiny written in a desert's shifting sands.

The year is 1870. Paris is under siege, and two boys, best friends and cousins, are swept from their life of privilege. A brutal killing forces Michel deVries — called Moussa — to flee to his mother's homeland in North Africa. A family disgrace forces Paul deVries to seek redemption in the French military.

Ten years will pass before they come face-to-face again. Now Moussa has become a desert warrior and a beautiful woman's forbidden lover, while Paul leads an ill-fated French force into the Sahara. Against a breathtaking landscape of blazing sands and ancient mysteries, these two men face a struggle that will shatter lives across two continents — and force them to choose between separate dreams and shared blood....

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Review:

What a find! David Ball's first novel packs the wallop of a good old-fashioned adventure movie, with historic sweep to please any James Michener fan. The action starts with a wounded wild boar's attack on two French boys (convincingly told from the points of view of the boar, the boys--Paul and Moussa--the terrified mom, and an evil bishop who watches and prevents his coachman from shooting the beast). The pace never slackens as the scenes flash past: invasion and class war in the streets and underground quarryways of Paris during the 1870 siege, moonlit sneak attacks in the desert the Arabs call "the Land of Thirst and Fear," and an epic French attempt to drive a railroad through the Sahara--a mad plan opposed by the dunes and their no less implacable inhabitants, the Tuareg.

The Tuareg are the coolest--they're known as the blue men because they wear head-to-toe wraparound indigo-dyed clothes that scarily obscure their faces and stain their skin. Their rivals call them blue devils, and they have lots of rivals. Even though their dads are brothers, the French boys are fated to fight as tribal rivals in Saharan nomad's land because Moussa has a Tuareg mother. His dad, Count Henri deVries, crash-landed his balloon at her feet, and she followed him back to Paris. Racial oppression and bad bishop behavior provoke justifiable homicide at the Paris Opera, occasioning a hairsbreadth balloon escape and southern adventures too numerous to enumerate here. The prose is purple but handsome, the plot pulpy and propulsive. Check out these sentences: "He fell to her from the sky"; "Bashaga's howl haunted them until it was swallowed by the wind"; "As Moussa's stabbing knife pushed up through to his brain, Abdul ben Henna's last thoughts were of revenge." If these make you burn to read on, read on! You won't be disappointed. --Tim Appelo

From the Back Cover:

"A swashbuckler for urbane readers. His voice recalls, by turns, Michener and Clavell, Sir Richard Burton, and even Alexander Dumas....Empires Of Sand is part Beau Geste, part A Tale of Two Cities."
-- The Christian Science Monitor

"Lust, greed, revenge, rage and murder, sheiks and French aristocrats; war and bloody rampages, loyalties torn and love betrayed... An old-fashioned, rip-roaring adventure."
-- The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Expertly told--leaves a lasting impression."
-- The Washington Post

"A thinking person's page turner--old-fashioned in the best sense - literate, thematically ambitious, and swashbuckling at the same time."
-- Stephen Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire

"This is a big book, full of incident-- a kind of Count of Monte Cristo in imperial dress...There Is Passionate Love, Rich Writing, A Vibrant Sense Of Place, and much research, worn lightly. This is romance at its best."
-- The Boston Globe

"Takes the reader from 19th century Paris under siege to the white heat of the Sahara Desert--. Along the way are battles, intrigues, trysts, deceptions, births, deaths, and the Franco-Prussian War--The narrative never lets go--the story hurtles towards its climax-- [Ball's] storytelling has succeeded grandly, producing a novel of epic proportions."
-- The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

This impressive debut, a mammoth tale of war, romance, treachery and coming-of-age, is set in 19th century Paris and the spectacular expanse of the Sahara--an exciting, action-packed epic that will appeal to history buffs, thrill-seekers, travel enthusiasts and romance fans."
-- Publishers Weekly

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 173 x 107 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. An epic novel of adventure in the grandest tradition of historical fiction, Empires of Sand takes us on a thrilling, unforgettable journey. As civilizations collide around two men, a battle begins: for survival, for love, and for a destiny written in a desert s shifting sands. The year is 1870. Paris is under siege, and two boys, best friends and cousins, are swept from their life of privilege. A brutal killing forces Michel deVries ? called Moussa ? to flee to his mother s homeland in North Africa. A family disgrace forces Paul deVries to seek redemption in the French military. Ten years will pass before they come face-to-face again. Now Moussa has become a desert warrior and a beautiful woman s forbidden lover, while Paul leads an ill-fated French force into the Sahara. Against a breathtaking landscape of blazing sands and ancient mysteries, these two men face a struggle that will shatter lives across two continents ? and force them to choose between separate dreams and shared blood. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780440236689

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 173 x 107 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. An epic novel of adventure in the grandest tradition of historical fiction, Empires of Sand takes us on a thrilling, unforgettable journey. As civilizations collide around two men, a battle begins: for survival, for love, and for a destiny written in a desert s shifting sands. The year is 1870. Paris is under siege, and two boys, best friends and cousins, are swept from their life of privilege. A brutal killing forces Michel deVries ? called Moussa ? to flee to his mother s homeland in North Africa. A family disgrace forces Paul deVries to seek redemption in the French military. Ten years will pass before they come face-to-face again. Now Moussa has become a desert warrior and a beautiful woman s forbidden lover, while Paul leads an ill-fated French force into the Sahara. Against a breathtaking landscape of blazing sands and ancient mysteries, these two men face a struggle that will shatter lives across two continents ? and force them to choose between separate dreams and shared blood. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780440236689

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 173 x 107 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. An epic novel of adventure in the grandest tradition of historical fiction, Empires of Sand takes us on a thrilling, unforgettable journey. As civilizations collide around two men, a battle begins: for survival, for love, and for a destiny written in a desert s shifting sands. The year is 1870. Paris is under siege, and two boys, best friends and cousins, are swept from their life of privilege. A brutal killing forces Michel deVries ? called Moussa ? to flee to his mother s homeland in North Africa. A family disgrace forces Paul deVries to seek redemption in the French military. Ten years will pass before they come face-to-face again. Now Moussa has become a desert warrior and a beautiful woman s forbidden lover, while Paul leads an ill-fated French force into the Sahara. Against a breathtaking landscape of blazing sands and ancient mysteries, these two men face a struggle that will shatter lives across two continents ? and force them to choose between separate dreams and shared blood. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780440236689

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