Part thriller, part love story, this contemporary YA novel is based on true-to-life events in Mali in 2012 and centers around the power of individuals to take a stand against terrorism.
Kadi is the 15-year-old daughter of a librarian in modern-day Timbuktu. Ali is the son of shepherds and has been conscripted by the Defenders of Faith, an arm of Al Qaeda. When these two teens meet, it's hate at first sight.
Forced together by a series of tumultous events, their feelings slowly but persistently turn into something more, causing Kadi to let her guard down and Ali to discover her family's secret hiding place for the manuscripts her family is tasked with safeguarding. Kadi undertakes a dangerous operation to smuggle the manuscripts out of the city, while Ali and his military commander are soon in pursuit. Ali's loyalties will never be more in question than when Kadi's life is in danger.