Scattered across the globe, the Glover brothers serve the British Empire in the age of Pax Britannica. In 1859, they find themselves positioned against an establishment that is desperate to maintain the balance of power and their place in it.
Peter works at the British Legation in Washington, safeguarding trade and peace between the empire and its former colony. The arrival of an escaped slave ‘owned’ by a prominent congressman creates a moral dilemma that threatens this fragile peace.
In the United Kingdom, Zachary is elected to the House of Commons, but a personal tragedy soon puts him at odds with the naval policy pursued by his own party.
Whilst serving with the West Africa Squadron, Adrian is abducted by a slave trading tribe. Imprisoned in an unfamiliar environment, he is forced into slavery with only his faith to remind him of the life that was seized from him.
And in Bengal, Adam’s life of luxury is interrupted when he rescues a native girl from a forced marriage, incurring the wrath of the nearby Raja.
Separated by miles of ocean, the four stories are partly told through letters and written records as each brother fights, wins, loses and adapts in order to survive.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My desire to write something set in the mid-19th century first emerged in 2014, but it wasn't until 2017 that the idea(s) popped into my head. It started with a reflection on the evolution of democracy in Britain that evolved into the scenario described in the book. From there, the other three stories developed out of an aspiration to capture all the social, political and emotional consequences of Victorian culture.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The book explores morality, so I wanted the four brothers to represent different points along the spectrum, from Adrian – the Christ-like idealist – to Adam – the selfish manipulator.
My dear Zachary,
Picture my words in your mind's eye. See the clear, blue skies; unlike any sky ever witnessed from Albion except in painted landscapes. A steady breeze propels us towards the continent inchmeal; it soothes the skin and relieves the epidermis from the strain caused by hours of unshielded exposure to the African sun. The Getsemaní cuts through the waves, sending a clapping sound to my ears as I pace the length of the deck. But be not fooled; this aquatic percussion is no solo performance: it is a duet! For aloft, the clipper's white sails flap against each other in time to the vessel's movement, adding that comforting swooping sound that lets us know we need not fear the wrath of the Anemoi. From the masthead, the ensign of the Spanish Empire seems to proudly conduct this symphony.
Getsemaní is a fine vessel; verily the work of first-class shipwrights. At full sail, the sleek design would permit us to practically fly across the seas in even the mildest of zephyrs. It is no wonder that she and others of her design boast such success in trafficking slaves from here to the Americas. Her size would permit the crowding of upward of three hundred Africans in the orlop and more still in other parts of the ship. Much profit can be made from a single trip! There were just under one hundred souls on the most recent journey – mainly adult males; some boys and adult females too but no girls. The survivors cowered together on the upper deck, avoiding my eyes as my boots hit against the timber, sending a foreboding thump to their eardrums with every step.
They were totally oblivious to the significance of what had happened to them and could not possibly fathom where they would eventually be disembarking. They simply complied with whatever instruction we gave. As the port came into sight, the sounds of footsteps and general commotion floated up from the cabins below, and the Spanish corsairs emerged with their hands bound behind their backs, urged forwards at gunpoint by my petty officers. After days in our company, it was this spectacle that seemed to finally make the Africans comprehend what had transpired. One of them pointed at the corsairs and burst into laughter. Soon enough, the lot of them were clapping and cheering, realising that their captors had been themselves captured. They appeared to come to their own logical conclusion that because we – in uniform – had subdued their foes, then we must be their allies.
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