On the fifteenth of February, 1879, the day on which Queen Supayalat of Mandalay ordered eighty members of of royal family to be clubbed to death, Maria Beresford celebrated her twenty-first birthday. On that day Maria knew nothing of Mandalay, the fairy-tale City of Gems. The selfish, difficult but heart-stoppingly beautiful daughter of a failed tea-planter in India devoted herself to pleasure. But when her father was sent to Burma, and she had to accompany him, she became embroiled in an exotic world of political intrigue. Her friendship with the Queen - a dangerous and unpredictable figure - and her growing closeness to Archie Tennant, a young man who has come east to seek his fortune after the ruin of his family business, brought her both danger and the key to her destiny.
Caroline Harvey is the pseudonym of Joanna Trollope, the highly acclaimed author of ten bestselling contemporary novels. The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector's Wife, The Men and the Girls, A Spanish Lover, The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People's Children, Marrying the Mistress, Girl from the South and Second Honeymoon are all published by Black Swan. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia's Daughters. As Caroline Harvey she has written several historical novels including Legacy of Love, A Second Legacy, Parson Harding's Daughter, The Steps of the Sun, Leaves from the Valley, The Brass Dolphin, and The Taverners' Place, which are all published by Corgi Books. Joanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire, where she still lives. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.