The Arabian Peninsula has been known as a land of many mysteries for thousands of years. At the center of some of its most enduring legends is the fabled city of Iram, also called Ubar, the capital of the Kingdom of Ad. Known to Roman, Nabatean and Sabean traders in ancient times as a city of vast wealth and “towers,” Iram/Ubar is mentioned in The One Thousand and One Nights. Long thought to be buried somewhere beneath the sands of Arabia--according to some in the Rub’ al Khali, according to others in any of several other places--the city has returned to life after being lost for centuries in the form of a novel by an Aramcon.
Eric Stone III, currently working in the Project Management Office Department in Dhahran, recently published a fascinating historical novel titled “The Lost City of Iram.” Available today on Amazon.com, Eric’s story is divided into three parts, separated in time from one another, each with its own distinctive set of characters, all of whom discover various elements and solve certain mysteries related to the city. The first third of Eric’s novel concentrates on the last days of Iram, viewing events there from the perspective of the pre-Islamic prophet Hud, who warned the city of its folly in worshiping false idols. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, the city was punished and all who did not give up the false worship were destroyed along with the city.
The second part takes advantage of a several-month gap in the biography of T. E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) to portray him on a mission to locate what he referred to as “the Atlantis of the Sands” before an Ottoman military force can sack and loot the site.
The third part is set in present-day Saudi Arabia and concentrates on two Aramco surveyors who have been seconded to the Saudi Geological Survey Commission. Eric wrote his novel during his first Ramadan at Aramco and has now published it three years later.
Eric has lived in the Kingdom for three years with his wife Chandra and their two children. During that time they have traveled by car extensively throughout the region, visiting the tombs of Al Faw, Kuwait, Oman and other noteworthy places. Chanda currently serves as a volunteer with Aramco Gardening as the only arborist in the country, working extensively with the trees on the Dhahran compound and xeriscaping.
We encourage interested readers to check out Eric’s book. You can purchase it on Amazon.com either as a paperback or as a download for your Kindle.