It is a time of danger in nineteenth century Baghdad. A colony of Persian exiles, the Community of Friends, is under attack. Corrupt and powerful ministers of the Sultán have banished the community's benevolent and respected leader, because they falsely believe that his rising influence will threaten their own position. Within three days the community must find a perfect horse to carry him out of Baghdad. The 11-year old story narrator, her 8-year old brother, and their uncle are chosen for the task because of their uncanny ability with horses. Enemies pursue them during their journey by carriage, horseback, and riverboat. In order to protect themselves the trio acquires the ability that horses have, to see behind without turning their head. In spite of their vigilance they become victims of poisoning, kidnapping, and murder attempts. Two horses, a magnificent Arabian mare and her wild foal, join the trio and expose the most ruthless instigator of hate crimes against the Community of Friends. Along the way the two children and their uncle discover that their best protection is trust in each other and in their own intuition. This realization will help them endure more hardship and separation from their family and communtiy.
This book is about the plight of a refugee family and the triumph of their strength when displaced from home. The circumstances of the characters are not much different from those faced by millions of people in the twenty-first century who migrate to foreign places because of oppression, persecution, and war in their native land.
An adventure novel set in nineteenth century Baghdad
This book explores the tension that pervades nineteenth century Iraq and vividly captures the atmosphere of religious and gender prejudices at the root of violence. Intertwined with secrecy and danger the story explores relationships, honesty, obedience, courage, and the unique and often mystical connection between people and their horses.
Irene Taafaki, EdD, University of Massachusetts/Amherst
Beverlee Patton skillfully takes us on a journey filled with adventure and brings to life a significant period of history in Baghdad. Its characters are children, but the story is in no way childish. It deals magically with real-life issues current any place in the world today.
Laleh Rezaee, DMD, Eugene, Oregon
Poignant and compelling, Keep Eyes Behind addresses the effect of conflict and bigotry on the lives of children. It is great for readers of any age who appreciate an imaginative narrative.
Kris Keiser, Actor, Los Angeles, California
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