LB.ENGLEZA - 644 PG.
Set against an exotic background complete with a tiger hunt and the opium trade of 19th-century India, a tragedy of surprising scope is played out here. In the center is pseudonymous Ryman's heroine, freethinking American Olivia O'Rourke, who comes to Calcutta's "village of palaces" to visit her relatives Sir Joshua and Lady Bridget Templewood. Her radiant innocence proves out of place in the stiflingly proper atmosphere, and from the moment her path crosses that of the enigmatic Eurasian Jai Raventhorne she is caught up in an obsessive affair, with only her formidable intelligence and courage enabling her to endure Jai's savage betrayal of herself, her aunt and her uncle. Yet her romantic ordeal transforms Olivia into as ruthless an adversary as the man to whom she gave her love and trust, and out of the ill-fated choices she must make a great cynicism is forged. Beneath the propriety of the staid expatriate British community in Calcutta fester secrets of unspeakable defilements, and Ryman, a spellbinding storyteller, captivates the reader from the first page. 75,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate.