Mr Peacock's Possessions
Oceania 1879. A family of settlers from New Zealand are the sole inhabitants of a remote volcanic island. For two years they have struggled with the harsh reality of trying to make this unforgiving place a paradise they can call their own. At last, a ship appears. The six Pacific Islanders on board have travelled eight hundred miles across the ocean in search of work and new horizons. Hopes are high for all, until a vulnerable boy vanishes. In their search for the lost child, settlers and newcomers together uncover far more than they were looking for. The island's secrets force them all to question their deepest convictions.
An intimate, intense, beautifully realised novel of possession, power and loss of innocence, for fans of Mister Pip and The Poisonwood Bible.
Syson's novel, a modern take on the literary genre known (after Robinson Crusoe) as the robinsonade, is a haunting exploration of Lizzie's disillusion with her father's dreams and their damaging consequences * The Sunday Times *
Syson's novel is richly evocative of a Pacific world in flux, as cultures clash and individuals battle to find their place amid the ensuing confusion . . . a very moving story of fathers and children, of faith and disillusion, and of the dangerous consequences of trying to take possession of people as well as land * BBC History Magazine *
An intelligent, beautifully written story about a dysfunctional family in a sinister paradise * The Times *
Lushly written, with immaculate historical detail, it worked for me on many levels * Woman and Home *
Mr Peacock's Possessions is a wonderful book, full of drama, courage and aspirations. The language is rich and the characters so humanely drawn * Carol Drinkwater *
A thrilling story of love and courage, brutality and hope all told with equal measures of deep humanity, imagination and elan. Lydia Syson has an amazing gift of bringing history alive through richness of language, dramatic pace and fabulous visual imagery. This is better than watching a film! -- Anne Sebba With its chorus of vivid voices, Lydia Syson's novel reminds us why we consumed The Poisonwood Bible and The Underground Railway so avidly, but it has a (literally) breathtaking bravura and an intensity all of its own * Michelle Lovric *
What a powerful, rich and fascinating book. Dark historical events are interwoven with the mystery of a missing child on a remote Pacific island in 1879. Highly compelling * Anna Mazzola *
Swiss Family Robinson meets Lord of the Flies in Lydia Syson's superb and engrossing book. This scintillating story evokes an island paradise which descends into a nightmarish hell as Mr Peacock's Possessions builds towards a shocking revelation and a thrilling climax * Wendy Moore *
This tense, evocative, richly-imagined novel conjures the voices of a strange time and place, and makes them universal * Emma Darwin *
As compelling, mysterious and haunting as the troubled tropical paradise it portrays . . . Syson doesn't just write about the past, she transports us there. A tour de force * Piers Torday