A university professor receives a woman as a thank-you gift after tutoring the son of a Middle-Eastern king.
It’s 1966, the height of swinging London. At the University of London, when doctoral candidate John Perkins tutors Mohammed into becoming an honour student in physics, the young Arabian prince’s father, King Faisal, is ecstatic and rewards the university with a huge donation, and the professor, a special gift. The gift, John later discovers is Alya, a young burqa-wearing woman who refuses to speak when she suddenly shows up to live with him.
While attending a friend’s birthday party at the Cromwellian Discotheque, John meets Safiya, a modern Middle Eastern woman who is in London doing research for an economics project.
At the same time that he grows fond of Safiya, John begins to find himself strangely attracted to the mysterious Alya, whose face he’s never seen, nor whose voice has he heard. Eventually, he accuses Safiya of becoming jealous of his relationship with Alya, an attraction that becomes overbearing .
John awakens one morning to find Alya has left.
Meanwhile, John learns that King Faisal is coming to London to sign a deal with British Fuel Consortium and wants to meet John with his “gift”. John crawls to Safiya who conveniently volunteers to be the silent woman under the burqa. The king invites John and his “gift” to the signing ceremony.
But at the meeting, just as the king is about to sign, Safiya shouts out “Stop!”, then drops her veil revealing to John and the others that in fact she isn’t Safiya, nor Alya, but is A’Isha, the king’s daughter. A’Isha explains that she has discovered that the oil company is trying to trick her father, King Faisal, into believing that great oil reserves exist under his country’s vast agricultural valley. In fact, there is no oil. The Consortium only wants to be able to build a pipeline from the oil-rich neighbours in the north to their refineries in the south, which will put King Faisal’s agro-economy at risk.
The deal is torn up and for the first time the king acknowledges and accepts the changing role of women in his country. And as confused as he is, John realizes he has the best deal of all, for he is in love with three women in one.