Night Falls on Damascus: A Novel
Title: Night Falls on Damascus: A Novel
Author: Frederick Highland
In 1930s Syria, Police Inspector Nikolai Faroun investigates the murder of the beautiful but controversial Vera Tamiri, following a trail that leads to a dark conspiracy from Syria’s troubled past and to a secret that may have cost Vera her life.
Set in the exotic and turbulent world of Syria in the 1930s, Night Falls on Damascus tells the story of a French-Syrian police inspector, Nikolai Faroun, caught up in a complex murder investigation of a beautiful and controversial woman from a prominent Damascus family.
Vera Tamiri made enemies for her good works as well as her cosmopolitanism. On one hand was she was a social reformer who had tried to advance the health and welfare of Arab women in a volatile community hemmed in by custom and hostile to social change. However, Vera had a shadowy side: she cultivated a Bohemian pose, gambled recklessly, and was not always wise in her choice of companions—-and lovers.
Faroun suspects that she may have fallen victim to a gruesome crime of passion. However, he soon realizes that there is more to this crime than a jealous lover. In a country chafing under foreign rule and divided by sectarian strife, Vera Tamiri made a tempting political target. In a city seething with anger and revolt, Inspector Faroun begins unraveling a conspiracy from Syria’s troubled past, a secret that Vera may have uncovered—-at the cost of her life.
As the elements of a sinister and elusive crime bubble to the surface, Faroun must be careful not to bring to light secrets of his own—-the real reason for his presence in Damascus and a compromising relationship with the beautiful and willful wife of a well-connected French businessman. All games, in the end, must be played against the dark backdrop of a city that has been the center of Middle Eastern intrigue for millennia, the stony ground where Cain slew Abel, where Saladin once ruled, and where Nikolai Faroun must discover the key to the murder of a courageous woman who dared to disturb the ancient order.
A gripping murder mystery, Night Falls on Damascus richly evokes a time and place where the deadly conflict between modernism and tradition in the Middle East first came into play.
“A swashbuckling, seafaring novel with mystical overtones.”
“An exciting, smoothly written naval adventure set in Malaysia during 1875. Touching on the politics of war, the power of superstition, and the fragility of civilization, this is exhilarating escapist fare.”
“The book is peopled with rich, enigmatic characters whose pasts are shrouded in mystery and whose motives are close held secrets.”
—-Jim Nelson, author of the Revolution at Sea series
“Glorious shades of Joseph Conrad, but with wry humor! Splendidly written and an intriguing adventure /mystery in the grand old style.”
—-Dewey Lambdin, author of the Alan Lewrie series
“Unashamedly and convincingly Conradian in its subject matter and scope, and in the raw and elemental language of its telling . . . this is the work of a devoted and accomplished storyteller, and of a gifted writer and craftsman, for whom the completed tale is considerably more than the sum of its parts.”
—-Robert Edric, author of The Broken Lands