a sixteen-year-old Iraqi girl. Most of her life she has lived
with her family in the south of Iraq, in a rural setting where
her parents have managed to make a living raising goats and vegetables.
At the age
of fifteen she was kidnapped by a wealthy family from Samarra
and forced to work in their brothel. She escaped with the help
of a Syrian boy about her own age (Hakim). After her escape, she
joined her family, which had been displaced to a refugee camp
near the lake, Buhayrat ath Tharthar, in central Iraq. Following
the death of her father, the entire family was taken back to their
is seldom so simple and neat. Within a short time, an American
Pilot (CWO Alvarez) visits with a request that Nadia accompany
him back to Samarra. Nadia was needed by a joint US-UK hostage-rescue
team to help locate hostages held by the same family that had
once kidnapped Nadia.
soul searching, Nadia made the decision to help the hostage-rescue
team. Part of her decision was based on the identity of one of
the hostages, part based on wanting revenge on the family that
had kidnapped her.
At the end
of the novel, Nadia is offered a job with a Non-government Organisation
that specialises in bringing aid and supplies to Iraq in energency
situations. To take the job, she would have to move about 200
miles away to Basrah. She is faced with another major life decision
- should she stay and help her family with the goats and the gardening
or should she move to the city and send back her earnings to help
the family in another way?