In the 1980s, Lyn Johns arrives in Saudi Arabia on a mission that may cost her her family, but it is her family's future that has brought her to the Middle East. Her decision may be fraught with unintended consequences, and she knows it, but she leaves a low-paying job in Alabama to take a two-year contract in Saudi Arabia where she will help launch a new medical journal for the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.
It seems her fears of not being able to be mother to her three children and daughter to her parents from so many thousands of miles away may all be coming true, but she has more immediate problems. She has arrived at a moment in history, the third Saudi Arabian Five-Year Plan, when expatriates and their jobs are at risk. She also finds how vulnerable she and all her friends who work in that hospital to corruption, surveillance, and even violence by the Hospital's own Security Forces. With the help of letters from home and especially from the expatriate underground, which consisted mostly of ham radio operators and returning expats smuggling in news, she begins to see how what she cannot see is affecting everything she can.
This curious narrative is about the remarkable, sometimes foolhardy, men and women who navigate an exotic but treacherous landscape. Lyn's carefully researched memoir explores the lives of expatriates in a crazy, politically mixed-up, often dangerous, but beautiful world that seems to have lost its compass.