Hardcover debut and first of a projected historical fantasy trilogy, from the author of The Nightingale, etc. In 1597, young English apothecary's apprentice Thomas Chinnery voyages toward China in search of rare herbs and curatives. Off Goa, a Portuguese colony in western India, his ship intercepts a small galleon that's being pursued by a Portuguese warship; aboard are the mysterious Lady Aditi and the sorcerer Bernardo De Cartago, from whom Thomas takes a small phial of dried blood--blood that, he soon discovers, has the power to raise the dead. Then, betrayed by his shipmate Andrew Lockheart, Thomas is captured and brought before the Inquisition in Goa. Lockheart, now dressed as a monk, tries to use the blood to raise De Cartago, already several days dead. The Portuguese, preoccupied by a power struggle between the Grand Inquisitor, Rui Sadrinho, and Special Envoy Antonio Gonsâ€¡o, sent from Lisbon to investigate the doings of the Inquisition, demand to be told the source of the blood. Poor Thomas, tortured anyway as a heretic and sorcerer, admits that De Cartago (now dead again through an insufficiency in the restorative) gave him a map and hinted as to the location of the source. Whereupon the dangerously obsessed Sadrinho organizes an expedition, including Thomas, Lockheart, Gonsâ€¡o, and a disguised Aditi. Splendid characters, intriguing historical details, fascinating cultures, and agreeably restrained sorceries: a highly auspicious launch.