The idyllic ex-patriate lifestyle of Alistair (a British rep
for the WWO) and Hannah have a harsh undercurrent of tension.
He resents her American family's interference in their life, as
well as the fact that Hannah cannot concieve despite every possible
Hannah persuades Alistair to accompany her to Gulab Shah's shrine,
run by eunuchs with a reputation for curing infertility. Hannah
concieves following a bizarre ceremony during which both of them
convert to Islam.
Instead of finding joy, their lives begin to disintegrate. Alistair
has an affair with Samira, the friend who told them about the
shrine; Hannah's conversion causes a diplomatic incident, and
the eunuchs refuse to leave the couple alone - firmly believing
they have a share in Hannah's baby.
Tensions mount, clashing cultures and religious beliefs explode
and guilty and innocent alike are damaged.