A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of Mariam and Laila, two Afghan women married to the same abusive man, Rasheed. Mariam is Rasheed's first wife, an illegitimate daughter married off to the woodworker for money. When Mariam proves infertile, though, Rasheed marries the privileged and beautiful Laila who is, unbeknownst to him, already pregnant with her lover Tariq's child. Mariam and Laila clash initially, but after Rasheed's abuse scales out of control they align to escape him. Mariam murders their captor and is executed for the crime, freeing Laila.