Empires of Sand

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Empires of Sand is a novel by American writer David W. Ball. It tells the story of two cousins who grow up together in Paris but are separated during the Franco-Prussian War. The second half of the novel concerns their adventures in French Algeria, one cousin living with a Tuareg tribe, the other a French lieutenant on the real-life Flatters Expedition, an ill-fated mission initiated by the French government in 1881 to survey a railway route through the Hoggar region of the Sahara desert. Most of the expedition's members were slaughtered by the Tuareg.