Nineteen-year-old Kate Brady joined the army to bring honor to her family and democracy to the Middle East. Instead, she finds herself in a forgotten corner of the Iraq desert in 2003, guarding a makeshift American prison. There, Kate meets Naema Jassim, an Iraqi medical student whose father and little brother have been detained in the camp. Kate and Naema promise to help each other, but the war soon strains their intentions. Like any soldier, Kate must face the daily threats of combat duty, but as a woman, she is in equal danger from the predatory men in her unit. Naema suffers bombs, starvation, and the loss of her home and family. As the two women struggle to survive and hold on to the people they love, each comes to have a drastic and unforeseeable effect on the other's life. Culled from real-life stories of female soldiers and Iraqis, Sand Queen offers a story of hope, courage and struggle from the rare perspective of women at war.
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"BenedictÕs novel focuses on two womenÑone from each side of the War in Iraq. Narrator Cassandra Campbell's has a large range of characterizations, which the novel demands since the chapters alternate between American and Iraqi points of view. Her portrayal of American Kate Brady is fierce and believable. However, Campbell stumbles when it comes to the Iraqi characters, particularly the young Naema. Her accent sounds more Russian than Middle Eastern, and at times Naema's mother has a French lilt to her dialogue. This inconsistency of skill is distracting to the listener despite the storyÕs gritty power. M.R. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"
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