The year is 1836. English clergyman William Yate sets sail from London, bound for the mission fields of northern New Zealand. Caught up in a mesmerising love affair that will test the imagination of everyone on board the Prince Regent, he is utterly transformed. Against the riveting backdrop of a four-month sea voyage and the vividly imagined society of the ship, the story of Yate unfolds, drawing together the inarticulate hopes of the cabin passengers, the immigrant families of steerage, and the raw men and boys of the crew. On landfall at Sydney, camaraderie gives way to treachery and the tight world of the ship breaks apart. Everyone is implicated in the scandal that grips the colonial town, yet it is Yate alone who stands to lose not only his reputation but also his life. Based on a true story, SLOW WATER is a poised and elegant novel of the highest order with its commitment to historical accuracy exquisitely balanced by its modern attention to eroticism and narrative suspense.
Winner of Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Deutz Medal for Fiction 2004.