A richly imaginative novel of love, loss, time and the rise and fall of a great maritime empire, that sends two thwarted lovers spiralling through the chaos of history.
The story begins in 1429 on Madeira, when a peasant girl meets a boy- a Jewish outsider- from a Portuguese sailing ship.
Esperanca and Emmanuel know they must part when the ship sails.
From that first meeting and parting, others follow...
Emmanuel is in turn sailor, mapmaker, bookseller, jazz musician; Esperanca an illiterate peasant, a rich girl in Faro and a clever, bookish recluse who confronts a murderer in nineteenth-century Lisbon.
In twentieth-century London, Esperanca is faced with a double incarnation, one of the true Emmanuel and the other a shadow.
Over the centuries the couple face peril and tenderness.
Each life is short. What survives is love.