This Shall Be a House of Peace


After the collapse of Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government, a mullah finds himself doing anything to protect his students.

Chaos reigns in the wake of the collapse of Afghanistan's Soviet-backed government. In the rural, warlord-ruled south, a student is badly beaten at a checkpoint run by bandits. His teacher, who leads a madrassa for orphans left behind by Afghanistan’s civil war, leads his students back to the checkpoint and forces the bandits out. His actions set in motion a chain of events that will change the balance of power in his country and send shock waves through history.

Amid villagers seeking protection and warlords seeking power, the Mullah's influence grows. Against the backdrop of anarchy dominated by armed factions, he devotes himself to building a house of peace with his students — or, as they are called in Pashto, taliban. Part intrigue, part war narrative, and part historical drama, This Shall Be a House of Peace charts their breathtaking ambition, transformation, and rise to power.


Halton’s debut is a must-read for all who turn to books for an understanding of worlds other than their own.

Booklist (starred review)

It's easy to look at the Taliban as a faceless, fanatic menace, but This Shall Be a House of Peace offers us something different: humanity and understanding. Phil Halton has told a story that feels both mythic and direct.

Matt Lennox, author of Knucklehead

This Shall Be a House of Peace won me fully from the first page. I could taste the dust of Afghanistan again and could see the hills and villages and the people in them. If we could go back in time and have the soldiers and generals of the last eighteen years of war read this book, perhaps we could have come up with better outcomes for Afghanistan than we have to date

Dr. Kristian C. Gustafson, Senior Lecturer, Brunel University

About the Author

Phil Halton

Posted by Dundurn Guest on March 27, 2018
Phil Halton photo

Phil Halton

Phil Halton has worked around the globe as a soldier and security consultant, including in Afghanistan. He is the author of the novel This Shall Be a House of Peace. He lives in Toronto.