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       This debut is a stunner ... rendered so authentically it had us shaking the sand out of our shoes ... Lifting the flap on Bedouin tents, Hamilton peers into the Arabic village of Ein Fadr, a land seething with long-held tensions and filled with extremes that entice.

In a remote desert village of storytellers and seers, the accidental revelation of long-held secrets, including a forbidden love affair, unravels a young girl's world. Staircase of a Thousand Steps lifts the veil from a mystical land, where jasmine and dung mix and the inconceivable is embraced as commonplace.

In a Middle Eastern village that traces its history back to Abraham, the men gather nightly beneath a tree named Moses' Finger, and the women meet at a place where "the earth breathes."

But the midwife Faridah possesses transcendent wisdom and a dangerous scorn for tradition. And the shepherd Harif, seer and village outsider, weaves stories in an effort to protect his fragile status. While Harif's granddaughter, Jammana, struggles between the allure of the ancient world and the tensions of a modern age.

Through an ancestral gift, Jammana experiences the memories of those closest to her-Faridah, Harif, and her mother, Rafa. But as she unwittingly uncovers the village's secrets, old grudges move like a slow burn across the fields and ignite.

Set in Transjordan just before the 1967 war with Israel, Staircase of a Thousand Steps braids a chorus of voices into a poetic, haunting tale of loyalty, longing, and accidental betrayal.

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Photos by Heidi Levine, Briana Orr and Masha Hamilton (unless otherwise noted)