Empires of Sand
By David Ball
(Dell, Mass Market Paperback, 9780440236689, 784pp.)
Publication Date: March 6, 2001
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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....
David Ball lives in the Rockies with his wife, Melinda, and children, Ben and Li. He is currently at work on a new novel, Ironfire.
"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