NC Literary Hall of Fame



Khayal by Cristel Orrand

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$11.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1519127839
November, 2015
Fiction: Historical
Available from

“She moves as stealthily as the darkness for which she was named—Khayal.”

Against the crisp backdrop of the Jordanian desert, the Dead Sea, and the living paradise of Aqaba, twenty-seven-year-old medic and secret operative, Khayal, lives in the shadows, submerged in a criminal underworld, where lies aren’t just the things you tell yourself to sleep at night; they’re the things that keep you alive.

On her mission, Khayal is joined by Ibrahim, who speaks in riddles; Yasmin who knows where all the bodies are buried; Anya, the angry humanitarian; the orphaned teenager Mohammed; Huzzaq, her handler, who is either an evil mastermind or redeemer; and Ibrahim’s grandson Nur, who is her namesake, and the target who infiltrates her dreams. Unbeknownst to Khayal, they are all indelibly bound by the same man and the same decades-old secrets.

This second novel by award-nominated writer Cristel Orrand is an action-driven, fast-paced adventure through the Holy Land, through darkness and light, and the hefty gulf between legality and morality. Khayal is a kind of women's literary spy fiction and a tale of the indomitable human spirit, love, and friendship.

Cristel Orrand is the author of two published cross-genre novels, The Amalgamist and Khayal, as well as poetry, nonfiction, and short stories. She’s currently working on a series of biographies and Southern historical fiction. With an archivist’s passion for preservation and detail, she tells the stories of the voiceless and of the past. Cristel grew up in a military family, moving back and forth across the US, and living in such exotic locations as Turkey, Jordan, France, and Fort Riley, Kansas. She blends her love of history, people, and place in such a way that the settings are often their own characters in her work. She’s a mom, a consultant, a bibliophile, a writer, an historian, a cook, a critic, a gardener, a storyteller, a cancer survivor, a caretaker, a scavenger, and a pugilist, of a sort. Cristel lives in Raleigh, NC, with her artist husband, pixie power twins, and rescue pups.

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