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The man with the gun pushed me down onto the carpet. I tried to cower to make my body curl smaller, instinctively covering my head.
Oh God, please don’t kill me.’ My words clung to my teeth and now my whole body was so cold. All I had left were these words.
‘Please. Please don’t kill me. Jesus. God. Please.’
I wanted to live and I knew it with absolute certainty. I don’t want to die.

Emma Slade was a high-flying debt analyst for a large investment bank, when she was taken hostage in a hotel room on a business trip to Jakarta. She thought she was lucky to come out of it unscathed, but over the ensuing weeks and months, as the financial markets crashed, Emma became her own distressed asset as the trauma following the event took hold.

Realising her view on life had profoundly changed she embarked upon a journey, discovering the healing power of yoga and, in Bhutan, opening her eyes to a kinder, more peaceful way of living.

From fast-paced City life to the stillness of Bhutan’s Himalayan mountains, Set Free is the inspiring true story of Emma’s astonishing life lived to extremes and all that that entails: work, travel, spirituality, Buddhism, relationships, and the underlying question of what makes a meaningful life.


This book chronicles the gradual transformation from a high-flying financial advisor to a committed Buddhist nun through the course of work, relationships, motherhood and finally spiritual commitment. A good read for all those involved in practising a spiritual path in a western context.
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, author, teacher and Buddhist nun
a remarkable story
Emma Barnett, Radio 5 live
this is a story which needed to be told not just for Emma and the children of Bhutan, but for the world... utterly compelling
Spectrum Magazine
this is an amazing woman with an amazing story
Davina McCall
It's an amazing story and what's most remarkable about it is the personality of Slade herself. She is an exceptional individual
Suzi Feay, Literary Journalist