A late-night gambling session ends in a bet for Richard Gaunt: can he walk to Oxford by lunchtime the next day? Gaunt sets off, and as morning breaks and the dreaming spires near, his evening's winnings look set to double. But when men in a Jeep reverse into him, scooping him off the roadside, Gaunt enters a yet stranger world.
Taken to a country house, he is kept hostage by a man with impeccable manners, Mr Khan. Traumatised by a tour of duty in Iraq, Gaunt's life has collapsed around him. His behaviour drove away his childhood sweetheart and put even debt-collecting jobs beyond his reach. So when the mysterious captor offers Gaunt 10,000 pounds to marry Adeena - a beautiful girl kept in the house against her will - he decides to accept. After initial suspicion, Adeena realises that Gaunt is her only chance, and the pair forge a plan of escape.
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