Zeba lived the ordinary life of a housewife in Afghanistan, cooking and caring for her four surviving children and husband. One day everything changed. Her children came home from school to the smell of dinner burning on an untended stove, and her son ran out to the backyard to find his mother nearly catatonic and his father dead with a bloody axe nearby. Afghani justice is harsh and soon Zeba finds herself awaiting trial in prison, her children sent to an aunt's home. Despite the best efforts of a young Afghani-American lawyer, Yusuf, Zeba will not break her silence to defend herself, even though her husband was known to be drunk and abusive. Among her fellow prisoners, Zeba finds fellowship in the company of the other women awaiting trial, mainly for crimes involving the loss of honor. As the story evolves, the reader discovers the reason for her silence and her willingness to risk capital punishment - to protect another innocent. Powerful and moving.