In the lush, uninhibited atmosphere of Samoa, Robert Louis Stevenson is languishing with the disease that will soon kill him; when a chance encounter with the mysterious Scottish missionary, Mr Baker, turns his thoughts back to his conservative, post-Reformation Edinburgh home. As Stevenson's meetings with the tantalizingly nebulous missionary become increasingly strange, a series of crimes against the native population sours the atmosphere. With its playful nod to Stevenson's life and work Manguel has woven an intoxicating tale in which fantasy infiltrates reality.
Internationally acclaimed as an essayist and novelist, Alberto Manguel is also a prize-winning translator and has edited ten anthologies. Author of the award-winning A History of Reading, News from a Foreign Country Came and Stevenson Under the Palm Trees, his most recent book is A Reading Diary. Born in Buenos Aires, he has lived in Italy, England, Tahiti and Canada, and now lives in France, where he was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.