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The bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning novel hailed as "a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly."--New York Times Book Review
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand's booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.
Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, THE LUMINARIES is at once a fiendishly clever ghost story, a gripping page-turner, and a thrilling novelistic achievement. It richly confirms that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international literary firmament.
to publish a letter in the Times to-morrow morning, lambasting my character. He claims that a percentage of the fortune discovered on Crosbie Wells’s estate was invested in the Hokitika gaol-house. I do not know how he came upon this information, and I wish to know. At once.’ Nilssen faltered. How was it possible that Alistair Lauderback knew about his commission? One of the Crown men must have broken his word! Balfour, perhaps? Balfour and Lauderback were close familiars, and Nilssen had never
at all.’ ‘And yet in addition to bringing the charges against you today, Governor Shepard has made numerous allegations about your sanity, has he not?’ ‘Yes: he says that I am insane.’ ‘Have you and Governor Shepard ever spoken at length?’ ‘No.’ ‘Have you ever transacted business of any kind together?’ ‘No.’ ‘To your knowledge, does Governor Shepard have reason to bear ill-will towards you?’ ‘No,’ she said. ‘I haven’t done anything to him.’ ‘I understand you share a mutual acquaintance,
the other, and realised that he wasn’t sure. Lauderback had hardly spoken a word to Balfour about the final chapter of his journey over the Alps, two weeks prior. Most of what Balfour knew about the night of his arrival had come from the West Coast Times, which had published an abridged version of the account Lauderback had given, in writing, to the law. Lauderback was not suspected of having played any part in the deaths, one attempted, the other actual: the coroner’s report removed any doubt
Zealand,’ Balfour said. He removed his hat and slicked back his wet hair, an action without a perceptible benefit, for the palm of his hand was very wet also. ‘Francis Carver—Captain Carver?’ ‘That’s the man,’ said Balfour. ‘I am obliged to ask who you are, and why you are requesting this information.’ The banker spoke without affect, and in a mild tone of voice. ‘The man owns a ship, and I’m in the shipping trade,’ Balfour said smoothly, replacing his hat. ‘Tom Balfour’s my name. I’m
about.’ But Pritchard did not have an opinion about the widow. ‘Clinch doesn’t stand to gain a penny—from Crosbie Wells, maybe,’ he said. ‘But think on this. Staines leases the Gridiron to Clinch, doesn’t he?’ ‘What are you driving at?’ ‘Only that a fellow’s never sorry when his creditor is dead.’ Nilssen turned red. ‘Clinch wouldn’t take another man’s life. None of them would. Charlie Frost? Come off it, Jo! The man’s a mouse.’ ‘You can’t tell from looking at a man what he’s capable of