The Far Side of the Desert


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About The Far Side of the Desert

A terrorist attack—a kidnapping—the ultimate vacation gone wrong

Sisters Samantha and Monte Waters are vacationing together in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, enjoying a festival and planning to meet with their brother Cal—but the idyllic plans are short-lived. When terrorists’ attacks rock the city around them, Monte, a U.S. foreign service officer, and Samantha, an international television correspondent, are separated, and one of them is whisked away in the frenzy.

The family mobilizes, using all their contacts to try to find their missing sister, but to no avail. She has vanished. As time presses on, the outlook darkens. Can she be found, or is shea lost cause? And, even if she returns, will the damage to her and those around her be irreparable?

Moving from Spain to Washington to Morocco to Gibraltar to the Sahara Desert, The Far Side of the Desert is a family drama and political thriller that explores links of terrorism, crime, and financial manipulation, revealing the grace that ultimately foils destruction.

Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Daniel Silva


The Far Side of the Desert is a riveting thriller with richly nuanced characters and fast-paced action. The plot imaginatively taps into recent history to illustrate the human dimensions of terrorism—both the complex psyche of the perpetrators and the gnawing questions among those sucked into their vortex. I binged until the end.” —Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World

The Far Side of the Desert by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a razor-sharp tale of sisters, daughters, spies, and lovers; some relatable, some who appear to be beyond redemption, and some whose acts of good or evil are much harder to tease apart. Deftly managing the tightrope between the tightly-paced geopolitical and the nuanced psychological, Leedom-Ackerman delivers a thriller that transcends genre and has stayed with me long after I read it in one breathless sitting. The Far Side of the Desert is one of my top reads this year!” —Deborah Goodrich Royce, best-selling author of Reef Road

“A thoroughly enjoyable read. I hesitate to call The Far Side of the Desert a page-turner, but only because it’s so much more, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish.” —James Grippando, New York Times best-selling author

The Far Side of the Desert is that rare story—a literary work and a first-rate thriller. Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, who has traveled the world advocating for human rights, is one of the few writers today who can construct a superb and complex international spy novel. The Far Side of the Desert is stellar.” —Jennifer Clement, former President of PEN International and award-winning novelist of Prayers for the Stolen

“Get your passport. The globetrotting Waters trio takes readers to Cairo, Morocco, Spain, and Gibraltar, in an amazing human-interest and political thriller.” —Bookreporter

“Global terror plots and interfamily dynamics are centered in The Far Side of the Desert, a propulsive thriller with myriad levels of intrigue and suspense.” —Foreword Reviews

Praise for Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

“Running the gamut of emotions from fear to love, this plot surges along as unpredictable as a riptide. Romance and thriller readers will both find plenty of mischief and mayhem.” —Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author

Burning Distance is a double helix of a book, carefully plotted and beautifully told. It’s a spy story interwoven with a love story, and the strands fit together in a way that moves the reader effortlessly from chapter to chapter . . . A subtle and satisfying novel.” —David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and New York Times best-selling author

“I entered the world of Burning Distance and I didn’t want to leave. The narrative voice unfolds the story both poetically and realistically.” —Azar Nafisi, New York Times best-selling author

Burning Distance opens with a mystery, glides into a love story, and unfolds into a political thriller . . . Readers will be up way past their bedtimes eagerly turning pages to discover what happens to Lizzy and Adil. A great read!” —Susan Isaacs, New York Times best-selling author

Burning Distance is a mystery, a complicated, story-driven drama of lives lived amidst the high risk of life and death in international arms trading. . . This is a real page turner which also informs, excites, and moves us.” —Susan Richards Shreve, author of More News Tomorrow

“I was immediately engrossed in the lives of Joanne Leedom-Ackerman's characters and their fascinating and compelling stories. Joanne has the ability to take the big issues of contemporary life and render them in the contexts of love, conscience, and the consequence of choice.” —Eric Lax, author of Start to Finish