This riveting survival tale set in the Arabian Gulf--author Mason's first novel--has two boys from very different cultures trying to find their way out of the desert wilderness.
Adam is Australian, living with his family, in a compound, in the Middle East. His comfortable expatriate existence is filled with family and friends. His days are a mixture of school, play and surfing. Both of his parents are away when war breaks outside his compound. Adam manages to escape with neighbors, but he flees his rescuers, attempting to retrieve his dog.
Walid is a poor boy from Bangladesh who, after the death of his father, moves to Abudai with his mother. His mother finds work as a maid and Walid is sold to the 'dalals' (traders) who promise his mother to care and educate him. In reality, he is maltreated and trained to be a camel rider. His days begin before dawn, where he has to fetch the water, prepare the morning meal for his masters, and work till bedtime. He has been left to die in the mountains by cruel masters displeased with his rebellious behavior.
War has broken out in the Middle East and all foreigners are fleeing. Instead of escaping with his neighbors, Adam sneaks off to save his dog, which has been left behind.
Lost in the desert, Adam meets Walid, an abused camel boy who is on the run. Together they struggle to survive the elements and elude the revengeful master from whom Walid has fled. Cultural and language barriers are wide, but with ingenuity and determination the two boys bridge their differences, helping each other to survive and learn what true friendship is. Adam and Walid are unlikely friends. They come from different lives and they can't even speak the same language but a common danger and the need for survival in one of the world's harshest regions, the Empty Quarter of Arabia, means they have to learn to cooperate or they will die.
Prue Mason's Camel Rider is a great story for anyone from 9 to 15. When you read the book, it seems as if Walid and Adam are actually talking to you. The book seems like any thirteen year-old's diary from the Arabian Gulf. It's great how two boys from two different worlds meet and befriend each other in a desperate situation in the middle of the desert.
An excerpt from Camel Rider
Recommendations: Anyone who enjoys adventure will enjoy this book. It is written from the perspective of boy boths and is both exciting and comical It is easy to read and is fairly short Appropriate for all grades