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The conjurer's bird : a novel
Martin Davies
Adult Fiction DAVIES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

BBC TV producer Davies, the author of mysteries starring Sherlock Holmes's housekeeper, turns his attention to the search for "the rarest bird ever recorded" in this gripping book of literary suspense. In 1774, on Captain Cook's second expedition to the South Pacific, a single specimen of a thrushlike bird was captured. The bird entered the collection of eminent naturalist Sir Joseph Banks-but then it disappeared. Moving adroitly between the 18th and the 21st centuries, Davies indulges in clever speculation about the bird's whereabouts and adds an appealing strain of romance surrounding the identity of Banks's mistress, "Miss B." Alternating chapters chronicle the adventures of Fitz, a present-day London conservationist who's agreed to try to find "the Mysterious Bird of Ulieta" at the urging of a woman he once loved-but it's his spunky female graduate student whose ingenuity and indefatigable research do much to keep the plot spinning past red herrings, dead ends and the machinations of unscrupulous people racing to find the bird first. A third subplot concerns Fitz's grandfather's search for the Congo peacock, and it is to Davies' credit that he renders the novel's botanical and zoological details with an immediacy that helps along the narrative. A few farfetched plot twists aside, this is a captivating novel. (Nov. 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

At the heart of this 18th-century historical mystery by Davies (Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose) is a passionate love story between Joseph Banks, a famous naturalist, and Mary Burnett, a gifted botanical artist. Mary was abandoned by her mother and raised without religion by her disgraced father. Owing to how English society then regarded such a situation, Mary and Joseph are prevented from marrying. Yet the intense love between the wealthy, celebrated scientist and the woman with unusual green eyes never lessens. Two hundred years later, taxidermist and university professor John Fitzgerald sets out on a mission to find the "Mysterious Bird of Ulieta," a mounted, one-of-a-kind species that Joseph once gave Mary. A fast-paced mystery quickly develops between Fitzgerald and other characters who want the bird for different reasons. Suspenseful, intriguing, and romantic, this is great entertainment and an excellent choice for book discussion groups; highly recommended for all libraries.-Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Joseph Banks
Age: 1743-1820
Given a rare extinct bird to add to his collection; the bird goes missing.

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