The Bystander is a mystery thriller set in Saudi Arabia where rivalries in the Saudi royal family, religion, and oil money intersect. In a kingdom built on sand, an ambitious and devious prince uses terrorism to disrupt the succession and become the next king.
At the Department of State spent twenty-one years inspecting embassy operations around the world. Traveled to over 130 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan with over 200 total trips. Overseas living included Peru, Thailand, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the Cote d’Ivoire. Served four years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the U.S. Embassy. Worked as a management analyst at the VA for nine years. One of first 20 women accepted in Air Force Intelligence School, and the first female Air Force Intelligence Officer to serve in the Vietnam War. Born Milwaukee, Wisconsin, lives in Colorado, BS University of Oregon, MHA Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared for the largest Islamic gathering in history as the hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means at least once in their lives.
Friday, enormous crowds of worshippers thronged Mecca, Islam's holiest city, for the biggest hajj pilgrimage in years, with more than two million expected to brave the scorching Saudi Arabian heat as summer temperatures are expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit). Pilgrims in white robes and sandals packed the ancient city, now dotted with luxury hotels and air-conditioned shopping malls, after flooding in on planes, buses and trains. Could break attendance records, officials said. More than 32,000 health workers will be on hand to help fend off heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion.
Rites include seven times circling the Kaaba, the large black cube in Mecca's Grand Mosque, praying on Mount Arafat where the Prophet Mohammed is believed to have delivered his final sermon, and throwing pebbles at three giant concrete walls representing Satan.
Some 24,000 buses will be used to ferry the pilgrims, and 17 trains capable of moving 72,000 people every hour, officials said.
Hosting the hajj is a matter of prestige and a source of political legitimacy for Saudi rulers, the custodians of the holy sites.
The hajj and year-round umrah rituals generate an estimated $12 billion annually.
Can you imagine, Amy, a billion? Two million of them make the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina every year. Those pilgrims don’t care about the Saudi succession. In fact, many of them think the Turks should be controlling the Two Holy Mosques, as they did for centuries.”