"An evocative and moving mix of memoir and fiction from an award-winning novelist. As war is waged in the Middle East, a woman in New Zealand has her nose in a book. Kate is immersed in other battles, engrossed in eyewitness accounts of an earlier war in ancient Persia. She has grown up, left her Otago home and returned, and in all these years books have shaped her life and made sense of the world - offering mystery and solace, entertainment and enlightenment. From The Little Red Hen to Owls Do Cry, from T.S. Eliot to Aphra Behn, this frequently funny, always original novel is another extraordinary offering from the author of The Hopeful Traveller."