When her poised and sophisticated yuppie assistant at the Cairo bureau of the "Wall Street Journal" suddenly 'adopted the uniform of a Muslim fundamentalist', Geraldine Brooks set out to discover the truth about women and Islam. Sometimes adopting a chador as camouflage, she was granted meetings (and often astonishingly intimate insights) by everyone from Queen Noor of Jordan to former Iranian President Rafsanjani's daughter. She met with Palestinians protesting about 'honour killings' for adultery and sheltered girls transformed into warriors by the Emirates' armed forces. Throughout the Middle East, Brooks was invited into the homes and lives of these women where she found real stories that overturn western stereotypes. Fair-minded and often revelatory, "Nine Parts of Desire" is an extraordinarily rich tapestry of the different lives women lead under Islam, and a captivating and diverse portrait of a little known world.