Intrigued by an exquisite and mysterious amulet on an antique dress from Kohistan, 'land of mountains' in Pakistan, Sheila Paine began an epic quest that took her from the peaks of the Himalaya to the shores of Greece. In this, the first part of her journey, she set off alone and undaunted for the wilds of the Hindu Kush, her only possessions a tiny rucksack and a litre of vodka. Over the course of several months she followed endless clues - the patterns on a woman's dress, pendants hanging outside village houses to ward off djinns , scraps of embroidery in a bazaar - that took her to some of the most remote and inhospitable places in the world. She travelled to Makran, in Pakistan, an area closed completely to foreigners, and to Iran, where she was constantly watched by government minders. She was smuggled into Afghanistan by a band of mujahedeen, and then forged on into Iraq and Turkish Kurdistan from Iran, before one final piece of evidence led her to the small town of Razgrad in eastern Bulgaria and news of the amulet she so tirelessly sought.