After fraudulently winning a writing competition, Sidony Redruth is sent by her editor to write the first-ever travel book on Hy Brasil, a near-mythical island somewhere in the Atlantic, whose very existence has been a matter of debate as late as the nineteenth century.
Elphinstone's plot takes the island location as its starting point, throws in some old-fashioned piracy, a lost treasure, modern-day drug smuggling, political intrigue, an active volcano and a tragic love affair. Told through Sidony's notes for her book, Hy Brasil has all the elements of an adult adventure story, but it is also a contemporary thriller with literary influences ranging from The Tempest and Treasure Island to Moby-Dick.
Margaret Elphinstone is the author of eight novels, including The Incomer (1987), A Sparrow's Flight (1989), Islanders (1994), The Sea Road (2000), Hy Brasil (2002), Voyageurs (2003) and Light (2006). She has also had published short stories, poetry and two books on organic gardening. Her next book, And Some There Be, will be published by Canongate in 2009. She lives in Glasgow and teaches at the University of Strathclyde.