The Place of Shining Light is the story of three men in pursuit of a stolen Buddhist statue. Set against the backdrop of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — three countries riddled with political chaos and seared by terrorist activity — The Place of Shining Light is a riveting and timely story of art, war, greed and spirituality.
Khalid, a leading Pakistani antiquities dealer, arranges the illegal importation of a antique sculpture from neighbouring Afghanistan for his client Ghulam, a wealthy landowner and avid art collector with political aspirations. Adeel, a highly recommended ex-military officer, is hired by Khalid to go to Afghanistan to collect the sculpture.
Adeel has a reliable reputation and has never failed to execute an assignment, but when he first sees the statue in a cave in the town of Bamiyan — known as “the place of shining light” — he has a profound spiritual reaction and decides to steal the sculpture for himself and go into hiding. When Khalid and Ghulam realize Adeel has disappeared with their prized possession they conspire to do whatever it takes to have the statue returned.
Taking readers on a wild journey from the country estates in the Punjab and the valleys of Afghanistan, to the magical mountain kingdoms of Northern Pakistan and the diplomatic enclaves of Islamabad, The Place of Shining Light is the riveting story of the modern trade in illegal antiquities in the war-torn regions of Central and South Asia.
“The Place of Shining Light has the intrigue of a thriller. The world of political and military corruption, bribery, and illegal dealings that Sheikh paints lends logic to the sectarian violence and the rise of terrorism in modern Pakistan. Rarely does one get such a revealing glimpse from inside the culture.”
– Rosemary Sullivan, author of Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Forthcoming from House of Anansi, September 2015