First Published in March 1938 – 254 pages
The true first edition has green boards
and the John Hamilton “Sundial” logo at the base of the spine. There was a later edition with red boards and
no logo on the spine.
Republished in paperback by Norman Wright
in 2001 as part of a book
called “Desert Adventures” - 220 pages
I AM INTERESTED IN BUYING A FIRST EDITION OF THIS BOOK (I.E.
PUBLISHED BY JOHN HAMILTON) SO IF YOU HAVE ONE PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT
The reprint of this adventure is in a book entitled 'Desert
Adventures'. This contains reprints of not only 'Desert Night' but also the
'The Raid' from the book of that title.
'Desert Night' runs from page 15 to page 144 and 'The Raid' from page
147 to 220.
Marlow, an expert on Arab culture and a fluent speaker of Arabic, is asked by
his old friend, Sheikh Ali Mustapha Ben-Salim, to impersonate his long lost
brother, Abdullah. This is because the Sheikh must leave his Egyptian Sheikhdom
at Sadka-el-Ammon to travel to England for a life saving operation and he needs someone he can trust to
leave in charge to avoid hostile foreign powers arranging for his overthrow.
Haydn finds the request difficult to refuse as the Sheikh once saved his life
and he has promised to repay the debt. With his heavily sun-tanned features and
fluent Arabic, Marlow can easily pass for an Arab, so he agrees to the
deception. Sheikh Ali then leaves on a pilgrimage to Mecca to give thanks for
the return of his long lost brother, planning to go to London after the
pilgrimage to have the life saving operation. With
Sheikh Ali's blessing, the British forces in Egypt plan to complete a road that
will help to bring water and medical supplies to the Sheikhdom. The road must
be completed before hostile foreign agents can stir up the Arabs in revolt.
Marlow poses as Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Ali's long lost brother, and finds
himself in charge at the oasis of Sadka-el-Ammon of
not only the palace but also the hareem. Whilst out
riding in the desert, Marlow is returning to avoid a sand storm when he comes
upon a man and a woman walking in the desert. The woman is Maureen O'Dell and
the man, her fiancé, Prince Paul Velonsky, a Russian.
Marlow, without revealing his true identity saves them from the storm and gives
them hospitality. He soon learns that Velonsky's
appearance is not co-incidental and he is offered the Sheikhdom permanently and
also the woman, if he agrees to an attack on the road being built by the
British. In order to buy time, Marlow agrees that if a contract is brought to
him, together with the girl, Maureen, then he will sign the document. Both Velonsky and Maureen are then returned to civilisation but
by a clever ruse, Marlow kidnaps Maureen and holds her at Sadka-el-Ammon
where she is a fairly willing captive. Marlow then receives dreadful news.
Sheikh Ali has been murdered on the road to Mecca! It is soon clear that Marlow
and Maureen are falling in love, but this presents certain problems. Maureen
feels she could never marry an Arab Sheikh and Marlow cannot reveal his true
identity and motives without losing grip of the difficult situation at Sadka-el-Ammon. Soon local gossip is rumouring that Sheikh
Abdullah (Marlow) is behind Sheikh Ali's murder and this is not helping things.
After Marlow purchases a beautiful young girl for the hareem
and is seen by Maureen visiting the hareem at night,
Maureen decides to try to escape. She is soon lost in the desert but is found
and saved by Arab raiders. Meanwhile, Velonsky has
returned with the vital contract to be signed, but Sheikh Abdullah won't sign
as Velonsky hasn't brought the woman, Maureen. Velonsky hasn't been able to find Maureen because Abdullah
has been secretly holding her. Things change when the Arab raiders take Maureen
to Velonsky and she soon realises that he is not the
man she thought he was when she agreed to marry him. Producing Maureen to
Abdullah, Velonsky gets Marlow to sign the contract
but then Maureen burns it. Things turn nasty and Marlow then hears that guns
and ammunition have arrived in the village to be used against the British.
Marlow manages to have these destroyed and tries to send Maureen to safety with
a British officer called Collingbrook. She insists on
returning after Collingbrook reveals Abdullah's true
identity to her. Velonsky decides to attack the
palace with hostile Arab raiders but is killed by a loyal servant. Sheikh Ali
returns, having had his vital operation. Another had taken his place on the
pilgrimage and it was that person who had been murdered. The British manage to
complete the road and Sheikh Ali is able to calm things down with his people to
prevent any attack. The hostile Arabs are sent on their way and at last Marlow
and Maureen are left to declare their love for each other.
Subtitle - A Romance
Publication Details - originally published by John Hamilton
Boards and title page of the original first edition book
2001 Limited Edition reprint by Norman Wright