The book starts strong, showing two men who meet each other on a jeep as they’re smuggled into Taliban controlled Pakistan, each heading to his own destination. They connect briefly on the jeep but though they’ve chosen different paths, destiny brings them together again at different points of the book. Despite the fact the book starts with both, most of the story focuses on Akbar Ali Samandar, an intelligent man seeking God. Akbar is born to a well-off and educated family in Pakistan and, as he displays high IQ at a young age, he’s sent abroad to study for both school and later gets into Cambridge. Since childhood, however, he’s had a unique relationship with God and he takes on religious studies to better understand it, first at the madrasa and then at Cambridge.
His unique relationship with God and his quest to find Him provide readers a unique platform to learn about the many different ways Islam is taught and practiced in Pakistan and other parts of the world. Despite Islamic studies taking up a good portion of the book, it’s also a story of love, loss and finding meaning.