Johnston provides us with an entertaining read. The title invokes the story A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS. Johnston's story is set in pre-industrial Arabian desert. It is a magical and fantastical tale.
The king of the realm went into the desert to hunt as a young man. He was kind. When he came back from the hunt he was a different person all together. He was cruel and hard. When his father died, he took over the kingdom as King and was an effective ruler. However, his wives never lived very long. He began to take a wife from each village. The relatives and neighbors were fearful and saddened when the king selected a wife from their village. They knew she would die soon. Somehow and for an unknown reason, he killed all of his wives. That changed when he met the narrator of our story. She has a mystical force within her. She was able to resist him.
Her mystical powers saved her but also all of her family.
In the final chapter, Johnston's narrator talks about the power of our heroine's story. The story changed as it was told to many people. People needed the story for different reasons and drew from it what they needed.
The young people and perhaps the chronologically mature who will read this book, will find many parts of this story to take away with them. They will connect with the power of prayer, necessity of inner strength, the sacrifice that is motivated by love for one's own family and tribe, the pervasiveness of evil.
Johnston has given us a story to reflect on as we encounter evil in its myriad deceptive manifestations.