The Luminaries (2013)
Hokitika, New Zealand is in the midst of a gold rush in 1866 bringing along a population of prospectors, businessmen and all sorts of surveyors. Walter Moody, a lawyer, is among them, hoping to increase his fortune. He wished to start a new life of comforts away from home. His harrowing travels from England leave him in need of a stiff drink which brings him to a local hotel and into a secret assemblage of twelve men. These men have nothing in common and share no interest in each others’ lives, except that they share a secret.
Unbeknownst to this, Walter Moody approaches one of the men and realizes that he has stumbled upon a confidential meeting. Eventually, the men confide in Moody and reveal how such different men happened to be thrown together.
A young and wealthy man has disappeared, the town drunk has died, leaving a very generous and suspicious legacy and a prostitute has attempted suicide. And this all happened on the same night. Moody gets sucked into the situation immediately.
Eleanor Catton’s exquisite masterpiece called The Luminaries: Booker Prize Winner 2013, combines adventure and mystery with poised and controlled storytelling. She weaves vivid characters that have no secrets from the readers about their morality and scruples.