A forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio still reeling from the tragedies of the Great War and the influenza epidemic, Agnes has come into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the Semiramis Hotel just as the Peace Conference convenes, Agnes, with her plainspoken American opinions and a small, noisy dachshund named Rosie enters into the company of the historic luminaries who will, in the space of a few days at a hotel in Cairo, invent the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.
Neither a pawn nor a participant at the conference, Agnes is ostensibly insignificant, and that makes her a welcome sounding board for Churchill, Lawrence, and Bell. It also makes her unexpectedly attractive to the charismatic German spy Karl Weilbacher. As Agnes observes the tumultuous inner workings of nation-building, she is drawn more and more deeply into geopolitical intrigue and toward a personal awakening.
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"While...the novel can sometimes be hard-going, she manages to make the characters, both real and imaginary, consistently captivating." - Library Journal.
"An inspired fictional study of political folly." - Kirkus Review.
"Though the bizarre, whimsical ending doesn't quite gel, Russell has created an instantly likable heroine whose unlikely adventures will keep readers hooked to the end." - Publishers Weekly.
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Mary Doria Russell was born in suburban Chicago in 1950. Her mother was a Navy nurse and her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant. She and her younger brother, Richard, consequently developed a dismaying vocabulary at an early age. She learned discretion at Sacred Heart Catholic elementary school; how to diagram sentences at Glenbard East High; cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois; social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston; and biological anthropology at the University of Michigan.
Mary and Don Russell have been happily married for an unusually high percentage of the years since 1970. Don is a software engineer and one of the founders of AllTech Medical Systems, which designs and manufactures medical imaging equipment for the Chinese domestic market. They ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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