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The Pagoda Tree

By Claire Scobie

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An epic novel set in eighteenth-century India about love, loss and exile, and the fate of individuals when two cultures collide

Publication date: June 2017
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About the book

Tanjore, 1765. Maya plays among the towering granite temples of this ancient city in the heart of southern India. Like her mother before her, she is destined to become a devadasi, a dancer for the temple. It is expected she will be chosen as a courtesan for the prince himself. But as Maya comes of age, India is on the cusp of change and British dominance has risen to new heights. The prince is losing his power and the city is sliding into war. Maya is forced to flee her ancestral home, and heads to the bustling port city of Madras, where East and West collide.

Far from home the East India Company is acting like a country in its own right and the British troops are more of a rabble than the King’s army.

Into this world steps Maya who captivates all who watch her dance. Thomas Pearce, an ambitious young Englishman who has travelled to India to make his fortune is entranced from the moment he first sees her.

But their love is forbidden, and comes at enormous cost.

'A novel to be savoured … Its layering, the unravelling of the story, the subtext of the fortunes made and lost on cotton and silk, the evocative descriptions of saris themselves are all part of [its] tapestry.' Candida Baker in the Sydney Morning Herald

‘Women’s stories are rarely told in history, nor particularly honoured. The Pagoda Tree offers a powerful, sensual perspective on a time of great transformation in India.’ Sarah Macdonald, author of Holy Cow

‘Claire Scobie’s seductive prose and immaculate layering of period detail capture India at her most exotic.’ Susan Kurosawa, The Australian travel editor & author of Coronation Talkies

'A rich and enthralling story handled with great skill by someone with a profound understanding of her material.' David Roach, screenwriter and film director, Beneath Hill 60 & Red Obsession

'[The Pagoda Tree] offers new ways of seeing the past.' Canberra Times

'A story told with great panache.' Country Style

The Pagoda Tree was briefly available in Australia, where it was well received. You can no longer buy a copy in the shops. Through Unbound, this could change and the novel now has a chance to reach a new audience in the UK and around the world.

N.B Shipping to Australia costs £20

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