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Able, bored and just down from Cambridge in the summer of 1937, Sally Marsden contemplates her future without enthusiasm. So many have assumed she will marry Hugh Jerrold, it is practically, an engagement. When Hugh returns from his diplomatic posting to China there will be a wedding and a thoroughly respectable settling down.
One afternoon Sally's father, impelled by a mixture of his own dissatisfaction, compassion for his daughter's predicament, a newspaper advertisement in "The Times" and a passing desire to spite his wife, suggests that she travel to China herself. Sally can spend a winter in China and she and Hugh can return together the next spring.
Sally accepts a last adventure before submitting to the strictures of upper-middle-class English female life. By the time she arrives in the East, it is not long before the Sino-Japanese war begins to lap around the edges of the isolated and complacent western settlements.
A move inland to Nanking restores the peace. But only a few weeks pass before a disastrous miscalculation separates Sally from Hugh and leaves her trapped in the city, one of two dozen Europeans and Americans to witness the capture and sack of the Chinese capital by the Japanese Imperial Army.
About the Author
Douglas Galbraith was born in Glasgow in 1965 and educated at the University of St Andrews. His first novel The Rising Sun was published in 2000. He has two sons and lives in Fife.
"Galbraith has a confident ear for the language of the time, and makes canny use of historical detail... He orchestrates the whole with structural flair and cinematic snappiness... Galbraith is to be commended for retelling, with urgency and clarity, events which have been variously ignored, forgotten and denied" Guardian "Remarkable... His research is impeccable, his take on the period detailed but never dull. He has a cinematographer's eye for the compelling image, and an obvious gift for storytelling" Glasgow Herald "Reads effortlessly, like a feature film unspooling in the mind: an epic full of war and all its horrors" Scotsman "Humane, judicious, beautifully written... His measured prose is distinguished by the lovely phrase and the haunting cadence, and a painterly eye for detail" Sunday Herald
Published: 2nd February 2006
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.0 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.21