Yemen.A simply told but eloquent coming of age story of a boy kept as a hostage in order to ensure his family's political cooperation. The strategy of imprisoning, forcibly employing, or marrying the adversary's children is reasonably common in the world. Often told from the perspective of the hostage, this genre usually include a critique of the captors' corruption, and Dammaj's account, with its pious boy narrator and decadent ruling class, is no exception. The tale takes place not from the beginning of his captivity, but from his entry into servitude in the governor's palace to his escape. It is framed by his friendship with a helpful and sophisticated duwaydar (boy-servant) who, perhaps as symbolic punishment for his participation in the immorality of the household, dies of tuberculosis.I appreciated Dammaj's use of language, which is a testament to the skill of the translators, and the glimpse of both the political machinations of a now-defunct culture and of the details of daily life in the Yemen of that era.