The Sheik is a 1919 book by Edith Maude Hull, an English novelist of the early twentieth century. It is similar to many of her other books, but it was her most popular and was the basis for the film of the same name starring Rudolph Valentino in the title role. The novel opens in an hotel in the Algerian city of Biskra. A dance is being held, hosted by Lady Diana Mayo and her brother. Lady Conway, a minor character in the book, is talking at some length of her disapproval of Diana. It transpires that Diana is planning to go on a month long trip into the desert, taking no-one with her but the Arab guides. Nobody thinks this to be a sensible idea. Lady Conway blames her "scandalous" upbringing. She was raised almost as a boy, since she had no mother or father. Her mother died giving birth to her; her father killed himself as a result. Wikipedia
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