Queen of the Desert

Georgina Howell

15 January 2015
560 pages


Queen of the Desert is the compelling story of Gertrude Bell, archaeologist, linguist, and author whose passion for the Arab peoples turned her into an architect of the independent kingdom of Iraq, a role driven by an unyielding spirit.

Drawing heavily on Gertrude's personal diaries and letters, journalist Georgina Howell paints an intimate portrait of a Victorian woman who gave up her world of privilege and plenty to navigate the complex geopolitics of the Middle East. On the pages of Iraqi history, Gertrude Bell leaves an enduring, indelible mark, seeing its first king Faisal safely onto the throne in 1921.

Originally published as Daugher of the Desert, Gertrude's powerful story is a compelling portrait of a woman who woman who transcended the restrictions of her class and age and in so doing created a remarkable and enduring legacy. Not all queens wear a crown, some carry a compass.