The Davis family, a disparate group of people with nothing in common but their mutual dislike, have been brought together by a crisis. Bill Davis, the family patriarch, is desperately ill in hospital, felled by a stroke, and kept alive only by medical technology. His family - his embittered and passive wife Dot, his pedantic son Henry, and long-estranged daughter Eleanor - must decide together when to end his life. Meanwhile, another narrative emerges and asserts itself: intrepid explorer Crabby Davis ranges like a true swashbuckling Victorian gentleman through the wilds of the South Pacific, keeping a vivid diary as he goes. As the latter-day plight of the dysfunctional Davis family becomes more comically revealing under the pressure of having to make life-and-death decisions, so does the voyage of Crabby Davis become increasingly fantastical. When Crabby embarks on a final incredible quest to the source of the four rivers on his island, the voyage of the larger-than-life explorer and Bill Davis's final journey towards death dramatically intersect.
In this remarkable debut novel, author Christopher Morgan deftly weaves the multiple narratives in a beguiling blend of the magical and the mundane. Paradoxical, spellbinding, and funny, The Island of Four Rivers is about living and dying, and the transforming power of love.