Spoiled princess learns to love a desert land and its prince, in the process foiling a plot to despoil its resources. Anita, bored with her soft life, misses her friend and tutor Eskoril. Even so, she refuses to visit Roshan until Eskoril insists. There she meets Prince Jodril, whom she dismisses as a boy, and tries to uncover a secret Eskoril insists exists. Gradually, she is attracted to the austere beauty of Roshan and to the honesty of its people; when she discovers immense reservoirs of oil and water under its surface, this provides a clue that Eskoril is evil. Under the tutelage of the Sandwriter, a desert sage whose powers destroy Eskoril, she and Jodril pledge themselves to Roshan's future. Many fantasy writers are drawn to harsh desert worlds--Frank Herbert's Dune, Garrett and Heydron's Gandalara, Robin McKinley's world of the Blue Sword. Despite some skillful writing, Hughes' Roshan pales beside these, and both her characters and her plot seem simple and obvious. Still, this will be useful where the appetite for fantasy is voracious. A minor cavil: use of the British word ""torch"" instead of the more familiar ""flashlight"" is unnecessarily confusing, especially in a cave usually lit by torches.