Tamil Nadu, southern India, 1765. Maya plays among the towering granite temples in the ancient city of Tanjore.
Like her mother before her, she is destined to become a devadasi, a dancer for the temple. On the day of her initiation, a stranger arrives in town. Walter Sutcliffe, a black-frocked clergyman, strives to offer moral guidance to the British troops stationed in Tanjore, but is beset by his own demons.
When the British tear apart her princely kingdom, Maya heads to the steamy port city of Madras, where Thomas Pearce, an ambitious young Englishman, is entranced from the moment he first sees her.
The Pagoda Tree takes us deep into the heart of a country struggling under brutal occupation. As East and West collide, Walter Sutcliffe unknowingly plays the decisive card in Maya's destiny.
Claire Scobie is an award-winning British journalist and author who has lived and worked in the UK, India and Australia. Her travel memoir, Last Seen in Lhasa, won the 2007 Dolman Best Travel Book Award. In 2017, a new memoir, A Baboon in the Bedroom, co-authored with her mother Patricia Scobie, is being released. She has written for numerous publications, including the Daily Telegraph and the Observer. Through her consultancy, Wordstruck, Claire advises companies and leaders on how to harness the power of storytelling as a strategic business tool. She runs writing courses in Australia, Asia and the UK, and mentors writers one-on-one. In 2013, she completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University. The Pagoda Tree is her first novel. clairescobie.com wordstruck.com.au @clairescobie