Saucy"" seventeen-year-old Zayda, a Dard nomad, dreams of an unknown, enraptured bridegroom; Faizi, Lord Qarim's young groom, yearns for a devoted, domestic bride; and this is their royal road to romance via Emperor Akbar's 1586 subjugation of independent Kashmir. Interludes in the tents of the Dards (male despotism, female servitude) and in the more lenitive atmosphere of Lord Qasim's home contrast the two cultures and anticipate the collision between Zayda and Faizi but their liaison has no 16th century Indian roots; you'd spot its expediency anywhere. Zayda's refuge, a remote rock, splits and falls, injuring Faizi, out reconnoitering from Lahore, and, at her grandmother's insistence (there's some question whose side the tribe is on), he's brought back to the tent to be nursed--also, eventually, to notice Zayda and, sooner, to be noticed by her. Political events precipitate a decision and Qarim asks for Zayda's hand in Faizi's name; obstinate and wary, she has to be convinced that although women on the plains don't make a man's house (i.e. tent), they do make a house a home. Conventional capriciousness, rather listless despite Zayda's much-touted impudence.