Following the narrative arc of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Ismael narrates the story of how he has come to end up lying, injured, in a compound on the Afghanistan border after a drone strike, life draining away. The story unfolds towards the present, as he thinks back across his journey from a suburb of Birmingham, where he was brought up, to pray circles in the city run by a charismatic individual who leads the small group Ismael joins, to Dubai, on to Karachi, and then to the mountains, to meet the fabled White Sheik. This journey begins with the discovery that he was adopted, after his real father killed himself in a suicide bombing.
Ismael decides to test himself to see whether, if subjected to the same environment, his nature will push him to similar violent conclusions. Along the way he is asked to work for the security services, informing on the man who had radicalised his real father. As the story progresses he is torn between loyalty to those he is travelling with, those he has come to work with at the security services, and to himself. After witnessing the violence created by both sides, as he moves through this new world, back in the present, he is forced to decide what acts are acceptable and work out what he is prepared to do to get himself home. The story explores what makes some of us need to seek out adventure and conflict, and makes many of us need to believe in a cause. Ismael attempts to understand why so much of the violence he has seen is caused by our inability to accept what it means to be human and the reality of all our fates. 70% of the sale of this product will be donated to War Child, charity no. 1071659