A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.

About the author(s)

Jane Johnson is a novelist, historian, and publisher. She is the UK publisher of many bestselling authors, including George R.R. Martin. She has written for both adults and children, including the bestselling novels The Tenth Gift and The Salt Road. Jane is married to a Berber chef she met while climbing in Morocco. She divides her time between London, Cornwall, and the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Connect with her on Twitter @JaneJohnsonBakr, on Facebook @Jane-Johnson-Writer, on Instagram @JaneJohnsonBakrim, or visit her website at


“Addictive reading: once I enter Jane’s world, I am compelled to stay and pause as little as possible until I have reached the last word. A perfect blend of history and culture in an engaging thriller full of finely crafted characters.”
VIGGO MORTENSEN, Academy Award–nominated actor and author

“A unique, captivating tale that held me spellbound throughout.”
GENEVIEVE GRAHAM, #1 bestselling author of Bluebird and The Forgotten Home Child

“I was enraptured from the first to the last page. Hamou is such a fascinating character—a decent man, trapped in extraordinary times. This is a riveting novel.”
ROBERTA RICH, bestselling author of The Jazz Club Spy

“Johnson imbues 1950s Morocco with some light magic in this robust tale about a man favoured by djinns. . . . [Readers] will be drawn in by the tense and complex political machinations. This is one to savour.”
Publishers Weekly