(Best International Fiction Book Award, Sharjah International Book Fair, 2015)
It is the summer of 1977 and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat. Weeks after her eleventh birthday, Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been a coup d’etat, General Zia has taken over the country and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is in jail. Although the shadow of the general and his increasingly puritanical edicts threaten to disrupt their comfortable existence, life goes on for Aliya much as before as she attends the American School in Islamabad.
However, when a much-loved young boy, the son of the family retainer, dies tragically in a hit-and-run accident, her world is turned upside down, especially when she discovers the terrible secret of the murderer’s identity.
CITY OF SPIES is a coming-of-age story that explores Aliya’s conflicting loyalties and her ongoing struggle to make sense of her world. Set in Islamabad and Lahore, CITY OF SPIES is a gripping novel that unfolds over thirty months in Pakistan’s tumultuous history.