After an acquaintance is beheaded back in her native country after trying to flee her marriage, state department employee Firenze “Florence” Farfaletti writes a shocking government paper and sends a copy to her boss' boss. She proposes a plan to begin liberating Islamic women to help stabilize the politics of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Her superior thinks she has just thrown away her career and caused irreparable harm to his own, but much to Florence's surprise a mysterious man who identifies himself only as Uncle Sam takes her up on her idea. She and her odd team of agents set up shop in Matar, a Middle East principality through it's creation that has landlocked the powerful neighboring nation of Wasabia. The ruling emir of Matar makes his fortune by charging Wasabia fees to pipe oil to the sea through its borders. The plan is for Florence to masquerade as a television producer and enlist sheika Laila, the wife of emir Gabbir to be its creative consultant.
Florence and her cohort are thrilled, as the newly created TVMatar is a huge hit with Matari women and moderates in the region. Suspicions are aroused that the network is a CIA operation. Even Florence cannot be certain of the background of her boss Uncle Sam. A French intelligence agency has a plan of its own to seize power by placing the emir's playboy half brother Maliq on the throne of Matar. Maliq used to spend his days driving French racecars but has suddenly found religion since a near fatal racing mishap. Florence's group is successful in programming scandalous shows and pushing a liberated female agenda. The network draws the ire of Wasabia (as they are the butt of many jokes and unflattering situations on the networks programs) as well as other conservatives in the region. Florence and her associates must scuttle the operation when word of an impending palace coup reaches them. Like most of Buckley's work the irreverent humor in Florence of Arabia is spread on very thick throughout the fast paced action.
This report prepared by David Fletcher