The year is 1930 and the British are in Arabia. Ivor Willoughby, a young Orientalist, embarks on an ambitious quest to find his father, an officer abroad with the British Army. In all of Ivor's life, Robert has returned to England only once, bedraggled and wild-eyed with tales of As'ir, a land of Sheikhs and white-turbaned bandits, where he is fighting alongside Captain Lawrence and is known by the name 'Ullobi'.
After that single meeting which left such a mark on his son, Robert is never heard from again. Ten years on, Ivor must find out what became of him. So he sets out on the journey of a lifetime. Travelling to Cairo to join the Locust Bureau, then circuitously to Abha, Yemen, and along the Red Sea coast, Ivor searches everywhere for clues about Ullobi, but no one appears to remember him. Or perhaps they are afraid to admit to it. Along the way Ivor hears whispers of a woman warrior called Na'ema who was once a slave. Her story seems tantalisingly connected with his father's, and Ivor finds himself in the misty heights of Ayinah looking for an Abyssinian seer who was carried on the same slave ship as Na'ema in 1914 and might unlock the mystery...
In this dazzling epic, William Newton brings to life Lawrence's Arabia in fascinating and vivid detail. The Mistress of Abha is a tale of Empire, of wild daring, of devastating love and an utterly surprising heroine.
The year is 1937, and Hitler has just walked into Austria. Wilfred and Duncan live in a big old house in Sussex, England; they spend their days catching butterflies, and only ever see their parents on Wednesdays for lunch. When their mother elopes and their father takes up with other ladies, they decide that enough is enough: they will leave home, go to London, and buy a tram they have seen in an advertisement. It costs two pounds sterling...
The Two-Pound Tram is a classic wartime tale of adventure, and a bittersweet evocation of youth and its triumph over hardship.
"Enter the dreamlike, secluded novel of two brothers growing up in Sussex, England, in the 1930s...The Two Pound Tram is a necklace of miracles, each more beautiful and unbelievable than the last."-Los Angeles Times
"Newton's first novel begins life as a classic...Two boys alone in wartime England, a horse, a dog and a childhood dream-what more does one need for enchantment?...This evocative, bittersweet story of childhood is a gem for the literary treasure chest."-Dallas Morning News
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