Sarab Raja Alem
Pub date 31st December 2017
International publishers Unionsverlag (Germany), American University in Cairo Press (WEL)

Sarab is a captivating love story based on the true events of the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in 1979. A group of extremist insurgents take over the Masjid al-Haram, declaring that the Mahdi (redeemer of Islam) has arrived in the form of one of their leaders. Many of those worshipping at the time are taken hostage, and the Saudi Army and National Guard are sent to recapture the mosque, with the help of three French commandos. Among the insurgents is a young woman, Sarab, disguised as a man, Saif Allah. Driven down into the gas-filled underground chambers of the mosque, which are collapsing under grenade fire, Sarab takes hostage one of the French commandos, Raphael, and escapes out into the city with him. Their mutual hostility turns to attraction when he discovers she is a woman, and he persuades her to return to Paris with him, where she can live freely and in safety. She agrees; however, the violence of both their pasts will soon come back to haunt them.

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