Arthur Hagopian publishes latest book “The Empty Quarter”

SYDNEY— Long before prospectors stumbled upon black gold under the searing sands of the Saudi Arabian desert and overnight transformed the sprawl of Bedouin tent encampments into the bastion of billionaires, the region was once home to a civilization that had close links with the Egypt of the Pharaohs.

Taking a leaf from the Arabian Nights and their conglomeration of Djinn, wizards, ghouls and their mythological ilk, Australian author Arthur Hagopian has woven a new fantasy, The Empty Quarter, that takes readers to a distant realm of magical possibilities and a trip down altered states of consciousness.

The story opens with the fortuitous discovery by a team of archaeologists of tattered papyrus scrolls among the ruins of Khaliyandra, a once-golden city encircled by a mighty wall.

As they unravel one of the scrolls and begin studying the script, they find, to their profound astonishment and unbridled joy, that the language and writing are a derivative of ancient Egyptian demotic.

They are elated, because there has never been any mention of an Egyptian foray into this part of the world, and the discovery will write a new chapter in the history of ancient Egypt.

They begin reading and are transported into a land and epoch evocative of Solomon, Merlin and Scheherazade, with whom the Djinn has fallen in love.

Alas, “She could not love me, she mocked me, tweaking my nose,” he moans.

Nothing is left now of the royal palace or any of the grand edifices of the city. Even the river, the gift of Khaliyandra, has been swallowed up by the earthquake that struck the region.

The region is called the Empty Quarter, because nothing grows there.

No life breathes through the sea of scorched sands. Except for a couple of bedraggled palms, nothing breaks the dull monotony of the silent, searing desert.

It is as if both man and beast have no use for this forsaken desert.

The 390-page book is published by Amazon, which has published seven previous books by Hagopian so far, among them two about Jerusalem, where he was born, and a fictional reconstruction of the life and times of Jesus.

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