Within moments of our arrival, Father enters the room. His ten daughters rise respectfully to their feet, and each of us expresses her greetings to the man who has given her life without love.
I have not seen my father in some months, and I think to myself that he looks exhausted and prematurely old. When I lean to kiss his cheek, he impatiently turns away, failing to return my greeting. Giving my fears full range, I know at that moment that I have been naive, thinking that the Al Sa'uds are too busy accumulating wealth to care much for books. My trepidation mounts.
In a stern voice Father asks us to sit, saying that he has some disturbing news to relay.
Lured by a stare, I see that Ali, with his morbid interest in the suffering of others, is gloating, regarding me with a pitiless stare. There is little doubt in my mind that Ali is privy to the evening's business.
Father reaches into his large, black briefcase and retrieves a book none of us can read. It is written in a foreign language. My mind in conflict, I think that I have made a mistake with my earlier fears, wondering what this particular book has to do with our family.
In a voice filled with undisguised rage, Father says that Ali recently purchased the book from Germany, and that the book tells about the life of a princess, a stupid and foolish woman who is not aware of the royal obligations that accompany the privileges of royalty. Circling the room, he holds the book in his hands. The picture on the cover is plainly that of a Muslim woman, for she is veiled and is standing against a backdrop of Turkish minarets. I have a wild thought that an aging, exiled princess from Egypt or Turkey has written a revealing book, but quickly realize that such a tale would hold no interest in our land.
When Father steps closer, I read the title: Ich, Prinzessin aus dem Hause Al Saud.
It is my story!
As I had not been in touch with the book's author since learning of its sale to William Morrow, a large and respected American publishing house, I was unaware that the book, Princess, was a huge success and had sold to numerous countries. The one before me is quite obviously the German edition.