Charles Whitaker is a Welshman who forsakes his native country for the deserts of Araby. Adapting quickly to this hostile terrain, he soon becomes more Bedouin than British. Whitaker's illegtimate son, David, sets out to find his father. He in turn is followed by a Welsh solicitor who hopes to reunite the two men. The story moves at two levels: One involves a desperate struggle for desert oil; the second, hardly intense, for father and son to find each other. Both struggles are resolved at Saraifa, the doomed oasis of the title.