To the casual visitor Santa Marta is a sub-tropical paradise, a small sister of Jamaica, Bermuda and Nassau, unmentioned in the colour-splashed brochures of travel agents: an island where the sun shines throughout the year on the sandy beaches of innumerable coves, on the cane-fields and coconut plantations, on the shingled hits of the peasant villages and the fine houses of the white planters handed down through generation after generation, from the Sugar Barons of a past century. But this was not how the newspaper columnist, Bradshaw, saw it when he arrived on his first trip to the Caribbean. Bradshaw found Santa Marta a smouldering volcano. This novel is a brilliantly successful evocation of the atmosphere and the problems of life on a West Indian island. It is a dramatic story, packed with incident and thrilling in this mounting tension. It weaves into the fortunes of a small group of islanders the ambitions and jealousies, the hopes and fears, the complexes and inhibitions of...

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