Freya Stark, described by The Times of London as "the last of the Romantic Travellers" upon her death in 1993, published during her lifetime more than thirty books about her travels in the Middle East, including The Southern Gates of Arabia.
Jane Fletcher Geniesse is a former reporter for The New York Times and the author of the biography Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark, a finalist for the 1999 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, New York magazine, and Town & Country. She lives in Washington, D.C.
[Freya Stark] writes angelically in the great tradition of Charles
Doughty and T. E. Lawrence. The pulse quickens as you read, because
she can bring the sights and sounds of incredible countries before
you in the twinkling of an eye."
--The New York Times Book Review
"[The Valleys of the Assassins] remains a wonderful description of a people and a place, altered today by Progress, perhaps, but through [Freya Stark's] eyes still alive with bandits, dervishes, idol worshippers, armed tribesmen, and mountain scenery of great beauty."
--From the Introduction by Jane Fletcher Geniesse
"Stark is constantly alive to her immediate surroundings:
indeed, what gives her work its extraordinary depth and power is
just this ability to focus past and present... stereoscopically, in
a single image."
--Times Literary Supplement [London]