The Lions of the Desert by Linda Chaikin
First Book: Arabian Winds
Second Book: Lions of the Desert
Third Book: Valiant Hearts
General Age I would Recommend it To: 14+
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Romance
One of the greatest things about historical fiction is reading about a time period you studied. I wish I could say that is why I picked up this romance/thriller trilogy set in WWI, but it’s not. I picked up after my sister told me they were really good, it just so happened that while I was reading them, school started and I began learning about the time period. Needless to say, I was able to study the time period while reading the trilogy, and my sister was right, these books were very good.
Summary: In the thick of World War One, Nurse Allison Wescott is on holiday with her archeology club. While enjoying the Arabian desert, one of the members of the club dies mysteriously. One night Allison sees her cousin, Leah, sneak in the cottage that is housing the body. Worried and curious, Allison follows her, only to find that Leah is not there. It doesn’t take her long to learn that Leah works for the British Intelligence, and she is part of an important exchange. Something has gone wrong, the murder evidence of that, Leah is terrified and confides in Allison. When Leah is murdered and left in the desert sand, Colonel Bret Holden comes on the scene asking Allison all she knows about Leah’s mission. Before she knows it, Allison becomes dangerously involved in wartime espionage.
Review: This series was gripping, literal edge of your seat action. It wove war and history excellently with mystery and suspense. I was swept away with the immersive setting, I could picture so clearly the hot desert winds and blowing sand. The characters were great, Allison was a simpler character but she didn’t come off as a Mary Sue, she showed lots of life. Bret was incredible, he showed great character development, I thought he was very unique and didn’t even come to close to a cliche. The whole series was so intense, you didn’t know who you could trust. Every suspenseful scene I was tense and couldn’t put the book down. Overall I loved the series, but a small warning, the first book takes a bit to get started. Despite the dramatic beginning with all of the murders, the first third of so of the first book was a little dull. I encourage you, if you pick these up to stick it out and don’t give up if the beginning doesn’t hold your interest, I promise you, they get so good!
You probably will like this book if:
- You like war and espionage
- You like historical fiction
- You love suspense/mystery novels
You probably won’t like this book if:
- You want a carefree happy story
- You want a book that instantly hooks you in