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Born Under a Million Shadows

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Press Release

                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 Contact: Nicole Dewey, 646-307-524
On sale: February 2, 2010                                                                         Nicole.dewey@hholt.com

born under
million shadows

by Andrea Busfield


 “In her indelible first novel, Busfield, a British journalist who has lived in Afghanistan, describes post-Taliban Kabul from the viewpoint of precocious, 11-year-old Fawad, whose impossible losses are commonplace: ‘My father was killed, my brothers are dead, and my sister is missing. But in Afghanistan, that’s a big so what.’ . . . . Poetic, bawdy, hilarious, and achingly wise, Busfield’s debut is a love story many times over: between a man and a woman, the author and Afghanistan, and an irrepressible boy and the wild world at large.”
Booklist, starred review

“From the first page, this beautifully told tale will capture the reader’s heart and imagination. . . . Powerful and moving.”
The Sun (U.K.)

“Beautifully written, touching and laced throughout with humor . . . A stunningly assured debut novel from a writer who looks set to be a big star.”
News of the World (U.K.)


When British journalist Andrea Busfield first went to Afghanistan in 2001 to report on the war she fell in love with the country. By 2005 she was back in England and hating her job as a TV critic, so she applied for and got a job as an editor of a NATO-funded newspaper in Kabul. Her second stay in the country (2005—2008) was beyond fruitful: she made friendships that will last a lifetime, she found love, and it gave her the material for her first novel.  It is a great thrill for Henry Holt to publish that debut novel, BORN UNDER A MILLION SHADOWS (Holt Paperbacks; Trade Paperback Original; On-sale: February 2, 2010), already a bestseller in England and now sold in 17 countries around the world.

Busfield takes the reader to modern-day Kabul, where the Taliban have disappeared from the streets, but the long shadows of their brutal regime remain. In his short life, eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the handouts of their none-too-charitable family to stay alive.

Despite the harsh reality of his life, Fawad brims with optimism. And when his mother finds a job as a housekeeper for Georgie, a charismatic Western woman, Fawad finally sees real hope for an end to their struggle. He soon discovers that his beloved Georgie is caught up in a dangerous love affair with the powerful Afghan warlord Haji Khan. At first Fawad is resentful of Haji Khan’s presence, but he soon learns that love can move a man to act in surprising ways. But even a man as powerful as Haji Khan can’t protect Fawad from the next tragedy that will blight his young life—a tragedy so devastating that it threatens to destroy the one thing Fawad thought he could never lose: his love for his country.

This is a life-affirming, warm-hearted novel that captures the hope and humanity of both the Afghan people and the foreigners who live among them. I would be hard pressed to find someone who won’t fall for this captivating book and the boy at the core of it.

About the author:
Andrea Busfield is a British journalist who first traveled to Afghanistan to cover the fall of the Taliban in 2001 as a reporter for News of the World. She is now a full time writer living in Bad Ischl, Austria. Born Under a Million Shadows is her first book.

born under a million shadows
By Andrea Busfield
Henry Holt and Company
On-sale: February 2, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9061-1
$14.00 * 320 pages