In 1974, Lou Falconi, an idealistic 27-year-old, uproots his wife and family from the security of middle-class America to become headmaster of a small oil company school in Dubai, a desolate oil community in the volatile Middle East. Lou soon meets Tim Johnson, an eccentric ex-oilman known as “The Duke,” who initiates Lou to a world of power and wealth.
Intoxicated by the inexhaustible riches of the oil-rich Shaikhdom and the powerful people around him, Lou eagerly follows the Duke on a journey in search of fortune. During this rite of passage, Lou confronts heavily-armed Iranian patrol boats, Yemeni extremists, Arab Jinns (spirits), a likable but ruthless gun-smuggling Bedou (nomad), and finally, a complex scheme by the Duke to obtain immortality. The internal moral struggle, brought about by Lou’s personal quest for wealth and the mystical magnetism of the Duke, tests Lou’s virtue, loyalty and love.
While the main body of the story takes the reader into Dubai’s past, the book ends in today’s dynamic Dubai, with a twisting mystery orchestrated by the Duke’s passion for life and desire to leave his mark in history. Part of this quest for immortality involves a strategy to use Arab wealth to relocate the United Nations from New York to an ultramodern, hi-tech, ultra-secure purpose-built city located in Dubai.
This book takes the reader on a magic carpet ride deep into the political, cultural and sometimes perilous realm of modern Dubai—Dubai, one of the wonders of the modern world, where money begets power, and power rules.
Although the novel is humorous fiction, is based in part on real life experiences.