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In her U.S. debut, Michaelis tells a sweeping story about a thief-turned-hero named Farhad, who mounts a sacred white tiger and journeys across a desert to rescue the god Krishna's daughter from a demon king. Amid the chaos of colonial India, Farhad calls often on the Hindu gods, but different faiths live in close proximity. Among other people and places, Farhad is led to a beautiful, spiritual Englishwoman, to the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha found enlightenment and to an Islamic mosque. Farhad's quest is relayed as a story within a story, set into an overarching frame about a poor girl named Safia, married off to a rich man who may kill her when he discovers she is not a virgin. Readers may feel as if they've encountered one of the many tricksters populating this book when this thrilling frame first opens upon Farhad; a third of the novel will have elapsed before Safia reappears, just when Farhad's story is finally taking off. Fortunately, the evolution of the relationship between the sacred tiger and Farhad is ripe with emotion, and the eventual resolution between the two stories is satisfying. Michaelis's novel takes commitment, but proves thoroughly worthwhile. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.