Three spectacular new historical novels – each taking place in a different century.
Unruly crowds descend on Crillick's Variety Theatre. A black, British actress, Zillah, is headlining tonight. An orphan from the slums of St Giles, her rise to stardom is her ticket out - to be gawped and gazed at is a price she's willing to pay. Her pursuit of the truth takes her into the underbelly of the city - from gas-lit streets to the sumptuous parlours of Mayfair - as she seeks the help of notorious criminals from her past and finds herself torn between two powerful admirers.
Lianne Dillsworth’s Theatre of Marvels whisks you on an unforgettable journey across Victorian London in this bold exploration of race, class and gothic spectacle.
Raised amongst the cogs and springs of his father's workshop, Zachary Cloudesley has grown up surrounded by strange and enchanting clockwork automata. He is a happy child, beloved by his father Abel and the workmen who help bring his father's creations to life. He is also the bearer of an extraordinary gift; at the touch of a hand, Zachary can see into the hearts and minds of the people he meets. But then a near-fatal accident will take Zachary away from the workshop and his family.
Sean Lusk’s The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley is a beautifully crafted historical mystery bursting with wonderfully realised characters, a sense of fizzing energy that brims over every page and immersive storytelling that will take the reader from 18th century London, across Europe and, finally, to the bustling city of Constantinople.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession - a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?
Spanning continents and generations, Melissa Fu’s Peach Blossom Spring is about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.