Bahrain was said to be where Utnapishtim—the wise old Noah precursor—lived in the Epic of Gilgamesh. That's why the members of the Lacuna Cabal end up there at the end of The Girls Who Saw Everything.

And so Romy and Neil steamed around the northern coast of Qatar to alight at their destination: the northwestern tip of the small island hidden beside it; an island with no oil left except for what was lapping on her shores, and no underground water left, except for what they could convert from the sea; where farmland had begun to turn into desert; where people used to dive by the thousands for pearls; where, in a grave and mysterious coinci- dence, Uta-napishti the Faraway, known to people of the Ancient World as an old wise man, once looked out over the waters to see Gilgamesh coming on a raft and said to himself, ‘That’s not one of my men’; where the underworked shipyard had begun to take on jobs no one else wanted, such as pulling apart a fleet of contaminated and rusting American hulks; where the relatively harmless transformation of the Nindawayma from ferry boat to cable ship was soon to take place; and where Neil and Romy would be, much to everyone’s surprise, arrested.


Like many immigration officers in the Gulf countries, Seyed Samir had recently been trained in the practice of recovering stolen artifacts. The truth is, he was taking to it like a fish to water. To Seyed, this was the first really gratifying work he had ever done. Being an islander, he didn’t generally run into a lot of trouble in his work. The most exciting thing that ever had happened at Bahrain’s borders was when he and a couple of his compeers were asked to politely detain a diplomat and get him to pay his outstanding parking tickets.
It was also gratifying to Seyed that he should become a detec- tive of sorts, because he had always understood that, to be a devout man, one must be prepared to see beyond the five senses of the body. What better profession, Seyed reasoned, than to become a sleuth, a seeker of the truth?

In early 2003, things were a lot quieter there, while the US was making trouble in another part of the Gulf.