Nearly 30 years on from its original publication, Hilary Mantel's third novel is still as disturbing, incisive and illuminating as ever. In an unusual collaboration, the author has revisited the book to create, with the abridger, this new ten-part serialisation.
Frances Shore is a cartographer by trade, but when her husband's work takes them to Saudi Arabia she finds herself unable to map either the ever changing landscape or the Kingdom's heavily veiled ways of working. The regime is corrupt and harsh, the expatriates are hard-drinking money-grubbers, and her Muslim neighbours are secretive and watchful.
She soon discovers that the streets are not a woman's territory. Confined in her flat, she finds her sense of self beginning to dissolve. She hears footsteps, sounds of distress from the supposedly empty flat above. She has only constantly changing rumours to hang on to, and no one with whom to share her creeping unease.
In the final episode, Frances tries to discover the truth.
Reader: Anna Maxwell Martin
Author: Hilary Mantel
Abridger: Sara Davies
Producer: Alexa Moore
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.