A haunting tale of love, tragedy and obsession.
Brits Ed and Sarah are doing aid work for different agencies in Bangladesh when a chance meeting starts both their love affair and their descent into horror. Leaving her make-work job, Sarah joins Ed in the small coastal village where he’s teaching and building a school. Despite the difficulties of living in the third world, the couple are happy until Ed gets involved in an effort to keep a multinational oil company from displacing the people. They’re taken aback when Ed’s efforts are met with mistrust by the villagers who’ve been so kind to them. As a huge storm hits the village, Ed disappears, leaving Sarah with the final image of his running toward the sea. She’s sure he’s still alive, but when Dan Jameson, from the Department of International Development, arrives to check on them, she agrees to return to London and meet with Ed’s sister Alexandria. Sarah is shocked to discover that Ed has told her nothing of either his wealth or the mental and alcohol problems in his past. His aunt Sylvia, it turns out, had financed the schools because she hoped that living in a Muslim country would keep Ed off the sauce. Following the clues in Ed’s diaries and his cryptic e-mails, Sarah realizes that the reason for his disappearance may date all the way back to his days at Oxford.
Gardner (The Mermaid’s Purse, 2004, etc.) unfolds this riveting tale in flashbacks that keep you guessing all the way.