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Jill McGivering has worked in journalism for 25 years. She is currently a senior foreign news correspondent with the BBC having previously held the position of South Asia Correspondent (based in Delhi). Now based in London, she travels extensively for the BBC including assignments to Afghanistan and China. Her first novel The Last Kestrel charted the lives of two women during the Afghan conflict. Far from my Father's House is her second novel. She has been nominated for Journalist of the Year 2011 at the SONY awards and the One World Media Awards.
Survival is hard in a land where no woman can live alone Layla is just thirteen when the men with the beards and guns burn down her beloved father's school and begin to terrorise the Swat valley region of Pakistan. She has to flee, exchanging the tranquil beauty of the Himalayas for the squalor of a camp for refugees from the Taliban near Peshawar. Trying to find out what lies behind mysterious deaths at the camp is foreign correspondent Ellen Thomas. As a strong woman in a man's world, Ellen is used to risking her life to uncover the truth. United by the gentle schoolteacher who had risked his life to save books, the paths of Layla and Ellen collide in a common cause.
One woman's fight to secure freedom set against the interracial tensions in Pakistan Looking out across the beautiful landscape of Peshawar, Layla knows the world around her is changing. The Taliban have waged war on liberal values. Women are to be kept in confinement, deprived of their beloved freedom and education. At the hands of the ringleader Mohammad Bul Gourn, the Faithful Soldiers of Islam, begin to drive out all non-believers. Aware that they face grave danger, Layla's father, Ibrahim, journeys to a makeshift refugee camp, determined to secure support for his people. It is there that he meets Ellen Thomas. Ellen, arrives in Peshawar to fresh riots, anti-American sentiment and a rise in religious fundamentalism. Trapped in a stampede, she is rescued by Frank, an aid worker with whom she shared a relationship as students in London. Frank assures her that to get to the truth, she must talk to the hundreds of people who have been displaced by the Taliban. Upon arriving at the camp, she meets Britta, a doctor who is desperately trying to prevent the spread of typhoid. Ellen learns that financial and medical aid is coming from wealthy Englishman, Quentin Khan. Keen to secure a peerage, Khan has pledged to help his people and prevent the spread of the Taliban. As their community is set alight, Layla and her family journey to the camp, running for their lives. They are greeted by hoardes of people, dispossessed and suffering. As Ellen begins to discover more about the camp, she believes that terrorists have been placed within the confines in order to stir up anti-Western sentiment. As the spread of typhoid worsens, it is up to Ellen to discover Khan's true motives for providing aid and who is at the centre of the camps rioting. Her discovery not only puts her own life in danger but also risks the lives of those she cares most about.
Two strong women. Two cultures. One unifying cause: survival. Ellen Thomas, experienced war correspondent, returns to Afghanistan's dangerous Helmand Province on assignment, keen to find the murderer of her friend and translator, Jalil. In her search for justice in a land ravaged by death and destruction, she uncovers disturbing truths. Hasina, forced by tradition into the role of wife and mother, lives in a village which is taken by British Forces. Her only son, Aref, is part of a network of underground fighters and she is determined to protect him, whatever the cost. Ellen and Hasina are thrown together - one fighting for survival, the other searching for truth - with devastating consequences for them both. The Last Kestrel is a deeply moving and lyrical story of disparate lives - innocent and not-so-innocent - caught up in the horrors of war. It is a book which will resonate with fans of The Kite Runner and The Bookseller of Kabul.