This fast-paced, excellent book was worth every penny I spent. Sasson, who wrote the Princess Trilogy, meets an extraordinary woman when she goes to Iraq in 1998. (I'm intrigued by Sasson's story and would love to read a book about her life!) The American and the Iraqi become fast friends. Mayada, the Iraqi, is imprisoned and tortured, but gets out of Iraq alive. (Some of the prison scenes read like a thriller and the reader is squirming in fear about the safety of the individuals you meet through Sasson's telling.) After Mayada reaches freedom, and Iraq is liberated, Sasson tells her story, with Mayada's cooperation. What comes out of their efforts is a beautifully written story about a woman living in one of the most tragic times in Iraq's history. I learned so much, and admit, am rethinking my previous anger at the American role in running Saddam aground. The man needed deposing! My only problem came from the fact that I didn't know what happened to the women who shared Mayada's cell 52. The mystery of what happened to them is a special torture to me. Despite this, I think this is the best book I've read in a very long time and I hope all Americans get the chance to read this heartwrenching story. I would think every American soldier, male or female, would gain a lot of prespective regarding their great value to the Iraqi people if they read this book.