Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A lady's maid and her mistress are locked in a tower for seven years, and their bond grows stronger as they face trials together.


"Book of a Thousand Days" is a captivating young adult novel written by Shannon Hale. This enthralling story takes readers on an adventurous journey through ancient Mongolia, weaving a tale of resilience, loyalty, and the unbreakable bond between two young women. With its rich historical backdrop and compelling characters, the book offers a unique and thought-provoking reading experience for audiences of all ages.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story is set in a fictionalized ancient Mongolia and is narrated by a young girl named Dashti, who becomes a lady's maid to Lady Saren, a noblewoman with a rebellious spirit. When Lady Saren refuses to marry the powerful Lord Khasar, the two women are imprisoned in a tower for seven years as punishment. Throughout their captivity, Dashti chronicles their experiences, struggles, and the evolving dynamics of their relationship.


The novel unfolds against the backdrop of the vast Mongolian steppes, where the characters are surrounded by sweeping landscapes, nomadic tribes, and the harsh realities of survival in a remote and unforgiving environment. The setting serves as a crucial element in shaping the characters' experiences and their journey towards self-discovery and empowerment.

Main Characters

Here are the main characters in "Book of a Thousand Days" along with brief descriptions of each:

DashtiA resilient and resourceful young woman who serves as Lady Saren's maid and confidante. She is skilled in herbalism and possesses a strong sense of loyalty and compassion.
Lady SarenA high-born lady who defies societal expectations and faces the consequences of her choices. Throughout the story, she undergoes a transformative journey of self-discovery and resilience.

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5

Dashti begins her service in the tower, and we are introduced to Lady Saren's defiance and the challenges they face in their confined space. Dashti's resourcefulness and loyalty to Lady Saren are highlighted as they struggle to adapt to their new reality.

Chapter 6-10

Lady Saren's inner turmoil and the growing bond between the two women are explored as they navigate the emotional and physical hardships of their imprisonment. Dashti's resilience and ingenuity become increasingly crucial for their survival.

Chapter 11-15

The dynamics within the tower shift as Dashti and Lady Saren encounter unexpected dangers and obstacles. The themes of hope and determination emerge as they confront their fears and uncertainties, finding strength in their shared resilience.

Chapter 16-20

The narrative delves deeper into the complexities of their relationship, revealing the impact of their isolation on their identities and perspectives. The characters undergo profound personal growth and introspection, shaping their outlook on the world beyond the tower.

Chapter 21-25

As the story unfolds, the consequences of Lady Saren's choices and the repercussions of her defiance come to the forefront. The evolving dynamics between the characters and the external forces at play drive the narrative towards a compelling and dramatic climax.

Main Events

The novel is punctuated by several significant events that shape the characters' experiences and the overall trajectory of the story. These events include:

  • Dashti and Lady Saren's initial confinement in the tower
  • Their struggles with isolation, hunger, and the harsh environment
  • Lady Saren's inner conflicts and personal growth
  • Dashti's resourcefulness and resilience in sustaining their survival
  • The revelation of external threats and challenges within the tower
  • The culmination of their journey and the resolution of their fate

Themes and Insights


"Book of a Thousand Days" delves into various themes that resonate throughout the narrative, such as:

  • Resilience and Survival: The characters' unwavering determination to endure and overcome adversity.
  • Identity and Empowerment: The exploration of personal growth, self-discovery, and the reclamation of agency in the face of oppression.
  • Friendship and Loyalty: The profound bond between Dashti and Lady Saren, and the enduring nature of their connection.


The novel offers insightful perspectives on the human experience, resilience, and the transformative power of adversity. It delves into the complexities of relationships, the significance of empathy and understanding, and the enduring strength found in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Reader's Takeaway

"Book of a Thousand Days" offers readers a poignant and immersive journey into a richly imagined historical setting, where the indomitable spirit of its characters resonates deeply. The novel's exploration of friendship, resilience, and the enduring human capacity for hope will leave readers with a profound sense of empathy, introspection, and the enduring power of the human spirit.


In conclusion, Shannon Hale's "Book of a Thousand Days" is a captivating and evocative work that intertwines historical fiction with themes of resilience, friendship, and empowerment. Through its compelling narrative and rich character development, the novel offers readers a poignant exploration of the human experience, leaving a lasting impression that lingers far beyond the final pages.

Book of a Thousand Days FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Book of a Thousand Days'?

    The genre of 'Book of a Thousand Days' is young adult fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction.

  2. Who is the author of 'Book of a Thousand Days'?

    The author of 'Book of a Thousand Days' is Shannon Hale.

  3. What is the book 'Book of a Thousand Days' about?

    The book 'Book of a Thousand Days' is about a lady's maid named Dashti who is locked in a tower with her mistress, Lady Saren, for seven years. It's a story of survival, friendship, and courage.

  4. Is 'Book of a Thousand Days' part of a series?

    No, 'Book of a Thousand Days' is a standalone novel and is not part of a series.

  5. What age group is 'Book of a Thousand Days' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for young adult readers and anyone who enjoys fantasy and historical fiction.