The house Amanda built

A House in the Sky is out in paperback on April 3
A House in the Sky is out in paperback on April 3

In August 2008, Amanda Lindhout travelled to Somalia to report on the fighting – and was abducted.

It was a difficult childhood that had ultimately led her to take this fateful path.

As a youngster Amanda escaped the reality of a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locations.

Aged 19, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe and visit the countries she had pored over as a child.

Tips saved, she set off on her travels backpacking through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh and India.

Emboldened by each adventure, she went on to Sudan, Syria and Pakistan.

In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter.

And then in August 2008 she travelled to Somalia – ‘the most dangerous place on earth’ – to report on the fighting.

Just four days into her visit, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.

A House in the Sky is Amanda’s searingly intimate story of her months in captivity.

Held hostage for 460 days, she converted to Islam as a survival tactic, received ‘wife lessons’ from one of her captors and risked a daring escape.

Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survived on memory – every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity – and on strategy, strength and hope.

A House in the Sky refers to the place Canadian-born Amanda went to in her mind during her abuse and torture – a place of peace and happiness she built for herself in the sky.

Amanda was released after 460 days and has since devoted herself to the cause of the rights of women and girls in Somalia.

She founded a charity which funds women’s education projections and offers support for survivors of sexual violence.

Her book will be out in paperback on April 3.