Author of The English Monster takes us on another voyage of discovery from Kew Gardens to the island of Otaheite by way of a murder investigation.
LONDON 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti.
When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew?
Horton must employ his singular methods to uncover a chain of conspiracy stretching all the way back to the foot of the great dead volcano Tahiti Nui, beneath the hungry eyes of ancient gods.
'I loved it! Very stylish, very ingenious and very well-written' Joanne Harris
'Shepherd adroitly blurs fact and fiction with a hint of the fantastic, creating his own superior blend of historical crime fiction' Financial Times
'Georgian London is vividly brought to life … A gutsy, involving yarn' Guardian
Lloyd Shepherd is a former journalist and digital producer who has worked for the Guardian, Channel 4, the BBC and Yahoo. He lives in South London with his family. He is the author of The English Monster and The Poisoned Island.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (February 28, 2013)
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