Archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author, poet, photographer, mountaineer and nation builder, Gertrude Bell was born in 1868 into a world of privilege and plenty, but she turned her back on all that for her passion for the Arab peoples, becoming the architect of the independent kingdom of Iraq and seeing its first king Faisal safely onto the throne in 1921.
Queen of the Desert is her story, vividly told and impeccably researched, drawing on Gertrude’s own writings, both published and unpublished. Previously published as Daughter of the Desert, this is a compelling portrait of a woman who transcended the restrictions of her class and age and in so doing created a remarkable and enduring legacy.
‘What a great Oscar-laden biopic this will make …the combination of epic scenes and personal drama makes Georgina Howell’s saga a winner’ Daily Express
‘Howell sketches in the gradations of colour and emotion that have been lacking in hitherto monochrome accounts of Bell’s life … Exemplary’ Sunday Times
‘Riveting … few women have had a life more worth reading about.’ Diana Athill, Literary Review