Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist working for The Kabul Times in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother Jahan. But with the arrival of a summons for Rukhsana to appear before the infamous Ministry to Promote Virtue and Punish Vice, their quiet and tenuous way of life is shattered. The minister, Zorak Wahidi, has two things in mind: to threaten anti-Taliban news reporters and to announce the Taliban's intention to hold a cricket tournament. The winner will represent Afghanistan in the International Cricket Club in London, finally proving to the world that Afghanistan deserves to be treated with the respect granted other nations.
Rukhsana knows this is a deeply ludicrous idea-the Taliban will fail to embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness and equality. There is no tolerance for violence or cheating. And no one in Afghanistan even plays cricket. Except Rukhsana.
This could be a way to get her cousins and her brother out of Afganistan for good, but before practice can even begin, Wahidi demands her hand in marriage. The union would be her death sentence, stripping away what few freedoms she has left under Taliban rule and forcing her away from her family and under Wahidi's complete control. Her family rallies around her, willing to do anything to protect her, even if it means their own imprisonment, or worse.
But Rukhsana realizes that Wahidi may have given her a way out, too. With the help of her loyal, beloved cousins, she forms her own cricket team and sets about teaching them how to win them their freedom-with a bat and a ball.
In this soaring novel of resilience, Rukhsana's strength, hope and tenderness reveal how no tyranny is ever absolute in the face of love.