Daryâ’s simple life in mid-nineteenth-century Afghanistan is torn apart when a hateful curse by a jealous tribeswoman leaves her an outcast in her small Muslim village. She looks to her arranged marriage to the son of a nomadic tribal chief with hope that it will deliver her from this oppression; instead, Daryâ finds herself regularly beaten by her wrathful husband, and more isolated than she can bear. Seeing no choice other than to flee from her torment, Daryâ barely escapes through the foothills of the Hindu Kush.
Destitute and alone, Daryâ meets David Ingram, an enigmatic Englishman traveling in Afghanistan. Although he is a complete stranger, she joins him on his journey to Bombay—and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. Ranging from the arid Afghan plains to the lush tropical villas of India, across mighty seas to Victorian London’s fetid streets, The Moonlit Cage is an intense and sensuous story of love, loss, and redemption.
Holeman (The Linnet Bird) explores the fate of a willful Muslim girl in this exotic and expansive coming-of-age historical romance. Growing up in 19th-century Afghanistan where women are expected to be obedient and subservient, young Dary dreams of adventure and freedom. "I could not be obedient," she laments and is consequently cursed by her father's second wife and sold to an abusive nomad. Fearing for her life, she runs away and is rescued by David Ingram, an enigmatic Englishman. He's the first man to show Dary kindness, and during a long, perilous journey to Bombay, she falls in love with him. Suppressing his own feelings, David arranges to leave Dary behind in India while he returns to England. Desperate to rejoin David, Dary agrees to travel to London as the companion of the shady Osric Bull, though he has sinister plans for her. The narrative falters when the setting shifts to London, but fans of the genre will appreciate the vivid rendering of tribal life and the sobering look at what it means to live where it's believed "en are created to enjoy; women to give enjoyment to them."