He appears out of the sea, washed up naked, in the treacherous Straits of Gibraltar.
Seemingly delirious, and claiming to be Christopher Columbus, he is taken to an insane asylum in Seville, where astonishingly he starts to reveal the true story of how he set sail on behalf of the Spanish queen five hundred years ago.
Consuela, a nurse at the Institute, is charged with helping him back to reality.
She listens to his fantastic tales in the hope of discovering the truth.
But as his story unfolds, she finds herself falling for her patient -- no longer able to tell where truth ends and fantasy begins.
Meanwhile, across the continent, Emile Germain is involved in a different search.
He's an Interpol officer on the hunt for a missing person, presumed dangerous.
He's a determined man, and when his investigation leads to Spain these two stories collide.
Part romance, part mysterious thriller, this is a rich and emotional novel about love, loss, and the fragile beauty of our own life stories.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 03/09/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780330471985
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Review by katelnorth
A man shows up at a mental institution, believing he is Christooher Columbus and telling tales of his attempts to get his voyage to the new world organised and funded. He tells his story to one of the nurses at the institution, who comes to care deeply for his. His past is intricately woven with aspects of the present, which make reading his stories a little tricky at first (casual references to meeting, while in the character of Columbus, in Starbucks; Queen Isabella calling him on the phone, etc), but once you get into the flow, this actually works very well and the becomes essential to understanding and empathising with Columbus - whoever he may really be.The story gradually builds to a very gripping climax as we get closer to whatever is causing this man to believe himself Columbus and both his story and that of the Interpol detective searching for someone, which runs in parallel, are emotive and touching.