THE KEY TO THE DESERT by L. N. Lavolle

THE KEY TO THE DESERT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A translation from the French which has won the Grand Prix du Salon de Enfance, this story of ancient Sumer uses the present day as a framework for discovering antiquity. A fragment of clay tablet found by Nancy and Ronald near the site of their father's oil drilling venture leads an American archaeologist to the discovery of a lost city on the Euphrates. As further bits and pieces of the tablet are turned up, the touching, vivid story unfolds of Nina, a temple singer, as written down in later and better years by her brother Nam, a scribe. Madame Lavolle has conveyed here the utter cynicism of the temple slave about the many gods they were forced to serve (they were prime prizes of war) and the dreadful weariness of these most urry-combed of slaves. Nina's death by poison in the court of a despot is an act of selfless, desperate hope for the eventual betterment of a brutal system. The discovery of her story is the key to a new appreciation of the arid land by the two 20th century children.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1963
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman