The Pagoda Tree
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
Weaving together the uneasy meeting of two cultures, The Pagoda Tree is a captivating story of love, loss and fate.
Tanjore, 1765. Maya plays among the towering granite temples of this ancient city in the heart of southern India. Like her mother before her, she is destined to become a devadasi, a dancer for the temple. She is instructed in dance, the mystical arts and lovemaking. It is expected she will be chosen as a courtesan for the prince himself.
But as Maya comes of age, India is on the cusp of change and British dominance has risen to new heights. The prince is losing his power and the city is sliding into war. Maya is forced to flee her ancestral home, and heads to the bustling port city of Madras, where East and West collide.
Maya captivates all who watch her dance. Thomas Pearce, an ambitious young Englishman who has travelled to India to make his fortune, is entranced from the moment he first sees her. But their love is forbidden, and comes at enormous cost.
'Claire Scobie's seductive prose and immaculate layering of period detail capture India at her most exotic.' Susan Kurosawa
'Women's stories are rarely told in history, nor particularly honoured. The Pagoda Tree offers a powerful, sensual perspective on a time of great transformation in India.' Sarah Macdonald, author of Holy Cow
'A rich and enthralling story handled with great skill by someone with a profound understanding of her material.' David Roach, screenwriter and film director
'A richly textured tale full of the sights, sounds and smells of India, with all its complex beauty and troubled history … ' Sydney Morning Herald
'A novel to be savoured … Its layering, the unravelling of the story, the subtext of the fortunes made and lost on cotton and silk, the evocative descriptions of saris themselves are all part of [its] tapestry.' The Age
'[The Pagoda Tree] offers new ways of seeing the past.' Canberra Times
'Scobie's prose is eloquent … a fascinating, unique plot representing an interesting era in [India's] history.' The Mercury
'A story told with great panache.' Country Style
'Claire Scobie travels a vast and exotic terrain in her first novel.' Weekly Review
'This first novel by Claire Scobie would make a spectacular film.' Goodreading Magazine
'A nuanced and sophisticated exploration of the socio-historical realities that are inevitable when cultures collide.' The Hoopla