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Om Small Kingdoms
Set in Kuwait during the ominous years between the two Gulf wars, Small Kingdoms traces the intersecting lives of five people rich and poor, native and foreigner, Muslim, Christian, and non-believer when they discover that a teenaged Indian housemaid is being brutally abused by her employer.Tensions are high. Just miles away in Iraq, Saddam Hussein is threatening a second invasion of this tiny desert kingdom, which he destroyed six years before, in 1990. Even without a war on the horizon, rescuing a maid employed in a private home is a sticky matter in this rigid, class-conscious society, where the rich protect their own; and any intervention involves great personal risk. Emmanuella, an impoverished cook from India, risks losing her job and thus her ability to support her family back home. Kit, the young wife of an American businessman in the Gulf, could face grave damage to her marriage. Mufeeda, an upper class Kuwaiti woman, must buck the powerful status quo of her family and her class, as well as her own history. And there s Hanaan, a rebellious young Arab woman who may have as much to lose as the desperate maid. Having fallen in love with Theo, an American doctor working in the country, she has already faced violent retribution from her family. How much more violence lies ahead she doesn t know. Stubborn, charismatic, and dismissive of her society s strict codes of behavior for unmarried women, she will step forward to help the captive maid.An Upstairs/Downstairs of the Arab world, Small Kingdoms tells the intimate story of ordinary people facing an extraordinary test in the face of another war.