What a disappointment. Three women set out for adventure and to convert the natives in Arabia. The older strident missionary is also a lesbian who seems to keep her female converts enthralled, even to their deaths. The Cyclist adopts a newborn when the 14y/o mother dies giving birth in the sand. This baby becomes Irene the grandmother of the modern protagonist, Frieda, who inherits Irene's council apartment and a live owl. Frieda finds her hippy mother to ask her about Irene, gets no satisfaction then seems to take off to live with a homeless Turkish artist stranded in UK. What a mishmash plot and a waste of good reading time. Frieda is poorly developed, we don't understand her motivations or her strength and in the end we don't care what happened to her. We have no idea how the old Irene got to England and why she had an owl for a pet. Reading this book is like wading through molasses and the ending is unsatisfactory for all that work.