Murder, slavery and intrigue confront a British diplomat posted to Cuba in the 1850s.
Havana in the 1850s is a city as dangerous as it is exotic. The murder of a humble night watchman at the British Consulate seems to worry neither the Consul nor the police.
But one person cared for the old man. The enigmatic courtesan Leonarda will not rest until she understands the mystery of his death.
In wintry England, George Backhouse is plucked from obscurity in the Foreign Office and given an unexpected promotion. His task: to travel to Cuba and take a stand against the illegal slave trade still flourishing there.
But Havana is a tinderbox of intrigue. As the great powers of the region conspire against each other with increasing ruthlessness for control of the island, Backhouse comes to see that the most innocent of actions could spark a devastating war.
To protect their interests, the powers-that-be in Whitehall are prepared to turn a blind eye to many things. Leonarda will not.
But what of George Backhouse?
A compelling and highly readable narrative . . . Davies proves to be a master of the evocative. - We Love This Book on THE YEAR AFTER
The storytelling is masterly. - Independent on Sunday on THE UNICORN ROAD
So readable and enjoyable and multilayered. - Boyd Hilton, Radio Five Live on THE UNICORN ROAD
A beautifully evoked narrative from the past. - Guardian on THE CONJUROR'S BIRD
A pacy confection of history, mystery and romance . . . a most engaging and unusual novel. - The Times on THE CONJUROR'S BIRD
Martin Davies grew up in North West England. All his writing is done in cafes, on buses or on tube trains, and an aversion to laptops means that he always works in longhand. He has travelled widely, including in the Middle East and India, and substantial parts of THE UNICORN ROAD were written while travelling through Sicily. He works as a consultant in the broadcasting industry.
Translation rights in Martin's books have now been sold in Germany, Sweden, Poland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Holland.