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Sand Queen Audiobook, by Helen Benedict Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Helen Benedict Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2013 ISBN: 9781482100709
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Nineteen-year-old Kate Brady joined the army to bring honor to her family and democracy to the Middle East. Instead, she finds herself in a forgotten corner of the Iraq desert in 2003, guarding a makeshift American prison. There, Kate meets Naema Jassim, an Iraqi medical student whose father and little brother have been detained in the camp. 

Kate and Naema promise to help each other, but the war soon strains their intentions. Like any soldier, Kate must face the daily threats of combat duty, but as a woman, she is in equal danger from the predatory men in her unit. Naema suffers bombs, starvation, and the loss of her home and family. As the two women struggle to survive and hold on to the people they love, each comes to have a drastic and unforeseeable effect on the other’s life. 

Culled from real-life stories of female soldiers and Iraqis, Sand Queen offers a story of hope, courage and struggle from the rare perspective of women at war.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Every way eventually yields works of art which transcend politics and history and illuminate our shared humanity. Helen Benedict’s brilliant new novel has done just that with this century’s American war in Iraq. Sand Queen is an important book by one of our finest literary artists.”

    Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • The Things They Carried for women in Iraq.”

    Boston Globe

  • “It is clearly Ms. Benedict’s intention to turn stereotypes upside down, make readers squirm, and yet still keep them reading. Ms. Benedict pulls off this audacious gambit because she is an exceptional writer and storyteller…Sand Queen is so powerful precisely because Helen Benedict is so pissed off.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • “Two women, an Iraqi refugee whose father and young brother were detained by American soldiers, and a nineteen-year-old American Army Specialist, wrestle with the complexities of war in Benedict’s thrilling and thoughtful new novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An eye-opening glimpse into a life that many Americans have never seen.”

    Library Journal

  • “An eye-opening novel that allows readers to step into the combat boots of a young, inexperienced female soldier living and working in a place where the line between friend and foe is nearly impossible to distinguish. Funny, shocking, painful, and, at times, deeply disturbing, Sand Queen takes readers beyond the news and onto the battlefield.”


  • “[An] unforgettable testament.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Helen Benedict is a British American novelist and journalist, best known for her writings on social injustice and the Iraq War. Her background as a child of anthropologists informed her work both as a novelist and as a journalist. She has written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, as well as articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, and BBC News.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.