THE ISLAND IN THE MIND book cover   The Island in the Mind
Rodney Hall

Cover painting: Julia Ciccarone, "The Urgs" (detail), 1996

Dustjacket synopsis:
"An age of intrigue and bloodshed, religious upheavals, the rise of atheism, and often overt homosexuality, Rodney Hall's new masterpiece plunges the reader into the glamorous world of adventure and speculation that was the seventeenth century. The Island in the Mind is about sexual politics, exploration, money and the new art-form of the time - opera.

"Opening in an unnamed country where the opulent life at court conceals a labyrinth of intrigue, The Island in the Mind traces the fate of three remarkable people. In Terra Incognita a man survives within an empire by questionable means; in The Lonely Traveller by Night a young woman is cast out from another; and in Lord Hermaphrodite a rogue sets himself the Herculean task of opposing not only his own but all empires.

"In this brilliant trilogy people appear and vanish like characters on an opera stage, searching both for a way into the mystery of the human heart and for the vast, unknown island haunting the European imagination - Australia. Facing the challenge of a future in the new world, the voyagers finally reach the ultimate Terra Incognita."

"He ranks with Garcia Marquez" - Allegmeine Zeitung Frankfurt
"Rodney Hall's books remind the reader what good writing sounds like: vivacious, gorgeous, rich in imagination" - San Francisco Chronicle
"Everything about Rodney Hall's work is major" - Michael Herr

First Paragraph

My new responsibilities as Gentleman of the Royal Bedchamber included supervising the poison-tasting of dinner. The palace kitchens were a separate building across the street, out through the side gate. This was where I had to present myself, accompanied by a Clerk of Office who was to risk his life doing his daily gastronomic duty. Such a sight these kitchens were: by the time we arrived the chef was arranging a massive succession of silver serving dishes piled with roasted pheasants, succulent little squabs, pigeons and partridges; scullery hands made ready to help lift whole pike from simmering pans; stewards broached jars of pickled crabs; and cooks unhooked roasted kid from racks above the open fires. Flames blazed and spat, sparkling with burnt fat, tiny flares darting into the blue air. Smoke fogged the whole place to mingle with steam ballooning from pots as their lids came off, a mixture so fragrant and intoxicating it choked us as soon as we stepped inside the door.

From the Macmillan hardback edition, 1996.

This page and its contents are copyright © 1997-2004 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: December 9, 2004.