It’s Baghdad, May, 1948. Martial law is declared. Hundreds are arrested. Three people are hanged in the main square and left there as a warning.

One morning, the secret police raid the home of Um-Kamal (‘Mother of Kamal’) in the poor Jewish district and arrest two of her sons. Inexplicably, one son confesses and gets eight years, while the other walks free. Um-Kamal inexorably gets drawn into the activities of the Communist Party to support her imprisoned son.

Fifty years on, Um-Kamal’s youngest child begins a search for the truth of what occurred during that turbulent time. Conflicting family narratives emerge and compete. Who, if anyone, is right? And will the truth emerge?

Based on real events, this spellbinding story moves from the urban slums of 1950s Baghdad, through the unspoilt mountain villages of Kurdistan and the relentless heat of the Al-Salman Desert, to the contemporary lives of the diaspora. It incisively captures the milieu of pre-revolutionary Iraq, providing an entertaining, acutely observed depiction of that society and of one family negotiating hazardous epochal events to find the key to unlock personal, and global, history.