>> Sunday, November 03, 2002
Ballerina Lucia del Mar has two great passions: dance, which consumes most of her waking hours, and the Worldwide Web, which brings the outside world into her tightly regimented life. Lucia's two passions collide when a White House performance and reception leads to an encounter with handsome Moroccan businessman Rashid al-Jazari, creator of a brilliant technology that has set the Internet rumor mill afire.
A second, seemingly chance meeting with Rashid will plunge Lucia into a deadly world of desire and intrigue. For although his work has implications she cannot foresee, there are those who do understand and would turn its great power to their own destructive purposes. As she is drawn deeper and deeper into Rashid's life and work, cut off from the outside world, she finds herself becoming more attracted to him. But is her seclusion within Rashid's well-guarded Moroccan home intended to ensure her safetyâ€”or her silence? And is it already too late to stop the terrible consequences his new technology could unleash?
I've just noticed: both of the books I'm reading right now take place in North Africa; The Veiled Web in Morocco and Seeing a Large Cat in Egypt. LOL! How often does that happen?
Posted later still...
I've just finished The Veiled Web. I'd rate it a B+.
It's a very good book, one which made me just stop and think many times, about issues like AI, interfaith marriages, etc. Unfortunately, I don't think a book like this one, where Islam plays such an important role, could be published today in the US.
What fascinated me the most in this book were the 2 issues I mentioned. I adored the sections where Lucia is working with Zaki, and where they explore the web. I kept thinking I want this technology, especially the Jazari suit.
Lucia and Rashid's relationship was also enthralling. This is the complete opposite of those Harlequin sheik books, where the hero is just like an USian CEO, only a bit more arrogant and possessive. Asaro doesn't confine herself to superficial characterization of her protagonists. Both are drawn in depth, especially exploring the role of religion in their lives. I found it interesting that even though I'm nothing like either of them, both rang true to me.
I'll explain. Rashid might be very nice and all, but I don't think I could fall in love with him. This is someone who would really prefer for his wife to live secluded all my life in a harem, and just compromises because he knows she wouldn't be happy that way. Maybe I'm being idealistic, but it'd make me uncomfortable to be with someone whose deepest wish is something that implies he thinks women are inferior to men. Yes, he knows that's not so and acts accordingly, but deep down, he's sexist. And Lucia was a bit too accepting of the restrictions placed on her, IMO. I guess I would be more like Rashid's first wife, Brigid, and refuse to even consider wearing a head scarf and veil.
The thing is, I liked the story even if I felt that way, because I understood what made these people tick and why they acted the way they did. So, I could root for them. They weren't stereotypes, or cardboard. They were people to me, even Zaki, and I wanted them to be happy.
What didn't work for me in this book was the whole kidnapping plot. It felt extraneous, and I wish Asaro had thought of another plot device to get Lucia and Rashid together.
But that's actually a small section of the book, and I very much enjoyed the rest.