It is July 1974 and on a bright, sunny morning, the Turkish army has invaded the village of Kyrenia in Cyprus. For many people, this means an end to life as they know it. But for some, it is a chance to begin living again. Koki, a young villager, feared and hated by her neighbours for her startling red hair, has spent her life in shadow. But held captive in the house to which the women of Kyrenia have been brought, she can at last speak to them as an equal. She can tell them her story of a summer long ago. The young, Turkish shoe-maker who came to the village and took her heart away with him when he left. And how she has longed for him all these years and never known why he left, what took him away. Adem Berker is a Turkish soldier and for him, the invasion of his former home is an opportunity to seek out the woman he has loved for so many years. Waiting for a chance to return, his only thought has been of her. And so, by cover of darkness, he searches every house, every pathway for a glimpse of that head of flames.
For Richard, growing old and grey in a dank bedsit in the centre of London, where the underground trains shake the foundations, the invasion of Cyprus stirs memories of his time as a British pilot, of a woman, a child and a secret it is becoming all too difficult to keep.
Christy Lefteri was born in London in 1980 to Greek Cypriot parents who moved to London in 1974 during the Turkish invasion. She completed a degree in English and a Masters in creative writing at Brunel University. She taught English to foreign students and then became a secondary school teacher before leaving to pursue a PhD and to write. She is also studying to become a psychotherapist.