Special Operations soldier Theo Bailey is right to be concerned when his mother, a controversial Muslim writer, announces that she will be traveling to Pakistan to attend a symposium on peace. His worst fears are realized when the conference participants are taken hostage by a group of terrorists, who resolve to execute the captives one at a time for every new Muslim war casualty. Fortunately, Sonia Bailey Laghari is prepared with a few tricks of her own: an astounding facility with languages, the mysterious insights of Jungian psychotherapy, and an unshakable, at times brutal, sense of faith. While Theo masterminds a high-stakes military operation to save the hostages, his mother discovers in her gift for dream interpretation a psychological tool of great power and subtlety. For her fellow prisoners - including an eccentric American billionaire, a Jesuit priest, and a married Quaker activist couple - Sonia's uncanny influence over the captors is their only hope of survival. But life is not all that's at stake: the mounting tumult of their terrifying adventure leads Sonia and Theo ultimately to face the far-reaching questions of culture, morality, religion, and family.