Beth Bernobich's Passion Play is the coming of age tale of Ilse Zahlina, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When he reveals his plans to marry Ilse off to a another merchant, she feels like just another item in his ledger. Matters are made worse when she finds that his last fiancée disappeared mysteriously, an occurrence most seem content to dismiss. Resolute not to end up a man's puppet like her mother, Ilse flees in the night, takes a new name, and seeks a life where she can forge her own identity.
Ilse's world seems to be pseudo-feudal, set in a sort of pre-fundamentalist Islamic Middle east. [...]