"When the wind is from the south, the desert possesses you." Philip Cooper's New York law firm suddenly dispatched him to a country no one had heard of, on a mission he didn't understand. Having survived both Vietnam and law school, he understood the solace of exhaustion so he went for a run. Allison Baxter, a sincere American whose banker husband is often away likes Philip's punishing fitness regime and yearns to share her secrets with him. Cassandra Sullivan, the Prime Minister's gorgeous, all-seeing English secretary, has come to Alidar for "a season of abstinence." The King is interested in her. She is interested in Philip. Set in a place where perfection is tangible, women are invisible and five times a day a man shouts from a tower that God is great, comes a story of intrigue, romance and scandal where nothing is at it seems.