In an expensive London restaurant, Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns - but on closer examination, Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves.
Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat's story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco - just as Cat did before her - she loses her heart.
Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder: Is history fated to repeat itself?
"A remarkable view of Barbary pirates and their times, and an engrossing romance of clashing cultures and wonderful characters." (Diana Gabaldon)
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