When Omar sets off for Syria with a group of friends he has no idea of the implications for his family in Baghdad. His sister, Alia, becomes entangled in a seemingly inescapable web of espionage which threatens to destroy a budding romance while his parents, Hala and Emir, are driven apart. Initially, the friends plan to work as aid workers for one summer only, but Omar and three others, Mo, Nasir and Ahmed, decide to stay on. Nothing is too dangerous for them if it will help the local community, so they take on tasks far beyond routine humanitarian work, running the gauntlet of aid blockades and working in outlawed field hospitals. They even plan and orchestrate a sabotage attack against ISIS, after which the friends are forced to flee. Nasir sets out across the Syrian desert while Omar and Mo head for Damascus. Penniless and without a place to stay, they still manage to appropriate and distribute impounded medical supplies to the outlawed field hospitals. While working in one Mo is seriously wounded and transferred in secret to a hospital, leaving Omar to hitch a lift home with the rebel fighters who are travelling to Mosul to join the battle against ISIS. Meanwhile, his eldest sister, Lena, running away from a broken heart, has become an aid worker in war-torn Yemen. While there she is faced with a life-threatening decision which could endanger both her life and that of her colleagues. Faced with the potential disasters which threaten their family, Hala and Emir must put their differences aside and help sort out the problems of their troublesome offspring.
Dorothy Al Khafaji lives in Cardiff, Wales. She first went to Syria when she was driving from the UK to Baghdad in 1962 with her late husband and baby daughter. Dorothy lived in Iraq for 8 years and became very familiar with the local culture as an Iraqi wife. Life in Iraq later became difficult and Dorothy returned to live in the UK with her four children. After completing her studies she taught in various colleges and settled in Wales, where she later set up and ran private day nurseries. Dorothy is now retired.