I really loved the ending. Nathaniel Elliot finally gets to Oman and is taken to Maude. The old lady has sent for some witnesses, so apart from Joan, there is Robert Gibson, Colonel Singer, and another officer. Then Maude demands Elliot tell them the truth about what happened in the desert fifty years ago. So then Nathan tells them about Maude being the first one crossing the Empty Quarter, and then when he and his men recovered in the oasis, one of the Babouin came to him with the idea of leaving Maude and the others with just enough water, so that they could beat them to civilisation and state that they had been the ones to cross the desert. Nathan confesses that he has always regretted his decision and his glory had been a bitter success, and he asks why she never said anything. Maud explains that she tried to do so when she finally returned, but nobody believed because she was a woman, and then when she discovered she was pregnant, she knew she couldn’t return to England. Maude just wants him to know that he destroyed her life, and she also tells him that he has another son, Sallim. I don’t condone Maude’s actions, but I think she had a right to let this man face what he had done. I think it was terrible of him, especially when she saved his life, and then he played with her feelings for him. That is one of the worst things a person can do.
When Nathan confesses, he asks her to send word to the men and let his son free, but Maude tells him that it is late and Charlie must be dead by now. She is bluffing as the men are later found, walking down the mountain, and later Maude tells Joan that she never intended for Charlie Elliot to be harmed, but she just wanted to make Nathaniel Elliot to feel what it is like losing what mattered most in one’s life.
Charlie Elliot returns safe and sound, and Joan and he talk about their fathers, and how their mistakes don’t make them love them less. It was a nice conversation. Maude is to be deported to England. Yet, the last day when Joan goes to visit her, she finds the house empty, so Maude has flee and Joan is glad because England would be a strange place for Maude, and the desert is her life.
The end shows us Joan about to board the plane which will take her to England. She might return in a few weeks as Robert Gibson has put a word in for her for a job there. Daniel hasn’t been able to come to see her off, but Charlie is there. She gives her a letter for her brother, and there is the promise that they can be more than friends when they meet next.
I loved the book. I liked the parts about Maude in the past than the parts about Joan. The descriptions were incredible, and the part about Maude crossing the desert was so graphic that you really felt what she lost when Nathan betrayed her so terribly.