A lavish and intelligent historical romance that moves between the ferment of Stuart England and the dangers of Cuzco and Florida as tragically separated lovers John and Zeal struggle to survive and be reunited. An epic love story set in the period of Longitude, for readers of Philippa Gregory and Rose Tremain. Readers of The Lady Tree will know the characters Zeal Beeston and John Nightingale. This new episode in their lives weaves the drama of John's voyage to lands not yet mapped with the story of Zeal's ever more desperate attempts to ward off Puritan suiters until John returns to marry her. Barely weeks after Zeal falls deeply in love with him, John is forced to flee England, to face absolutely new and unimagined experiences among the Incas and the Caribs. Zeal, a Puritan heiress, is left behind. She builds a house of unique design, her own, against all propriety or godly reason. These are dangerous times. The King is four years away from execution and his high-handed style ensures his terrible fate. Treasure from the New World pours into the country, but not only into his treasury. Self-made men are becoming as powerful as the aristocracy.
Zeal will not give up her hope that John will return. Civil War rages around her; she has had to face charges of witchcraft and even murder. But when John does, miraculously, come back to her after eight years, he brings a half-Inca daughter. And his experiences have changed him for ever. She has only her house, but her house is the Memory Palace, where riches as precious as New World treasure can be found. With its coded friezes and carvings, its passages and stairs, its very dimensions, it is a world Zeal has made for herself, despite everything. Her hope is to share it with John -- and with the small child he brings into her life.
Christie Dickason was born in America but also lived as a child in Thailand, Mexico and Switzerland. Harvard-educated, and a former theatre director and choreographer (with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at Ronnie Scott's among others), she lives in London with her family.