Come what may, Roz Duncan intends to graduate Summa Cum Laude. Roz wants so much to make her widower dad proud of her. If only she had his courage. Then Roz is kidnapped along with ten other beautiful blondes and several hundred “street people.” A ship takes them to the Sudan. Slavery is still legal and widely practiced there.
First mate, Carl, beats Chaney. At thirteen, she is the youngest of the blondes. Angered beyond reason, Roz vows to escape and take Chaney with her. “God, just give me a chance.” But Carl has an “issue.” His abusive mother looked very much like Roz. He feels that his dead Mom still wants another chance to beat him. As Roz, here she is. The Roz stops Carl from raping one of the blondes and the captain of the ship fires Carl as first mate. For his revenge, Carl intends to kill Roz slowly, horribly.
The ship arrives at Port Sudan where Sheik Kalmet ben Mesella buys Roz and Chaney as a present for his young son’s birthday. They will be the start of the boy’s harem. From her first day as the sheik’s property, Roz applies herself to learning Arabic, as spoken by the sheik, and also to learning everything she can about this country. In this way, Roz applies her Medal of Honor winning father’s prescription for escaping an impossible situation. “Learn everything you can.” He’d told her.
George, a seaman, wants Carl to help him deliver contraband. George needs both Carl’s muscle and his ability with the native languages. George gives Carl a bonus by letting Carl know about the diamonds in the gray sand of the creek bed they just crossed.
Carl finds dozens of small diamonds, a few large ones and one spectacular one. He hides his fortune in his canteen. But Carl still intends to kill Roz.
Carl and several other men hire on with Sheik ben Mesella. George and Carl plan to steal Roz from the sheik so Carl can get his revenge on her. But Roz and Chaney, without knowing of Carl’s hideous plan, escape in the middle of the night. Roz steals two canteens from sleeping guards. One of the canteens is Carl’s and contains his diamonds. Roz knows nothing of diamonds. She needs the canteen for water and while musing on some people’s craziness, rinses out the sand and rocks before she refills the canteen.
Roz’s dad taught her to be an excellent camper and survivalist. Since all water in the area flows to the Nile, they will follow the creek to the Nile. Then Roz and Chaney will follow the Nile until they reach Cairo. There has to be an American embassy in Cairo and the embassy will see that they get home.
“Home! My own bed. Home!” Chaney crows.
“It’s about a thousand miles to Cairo. At twenty miles a day, two months, all we’ll need. We can do it.”