Downtown, wartime Auckland. Victoria Park is swamped by a vast American military camp and Ponsonby Road is a sometimes wild place of bars, drunken soldiers and brothels.
Peter Sokel is a surgeon with the US Marines who falls in love with Emily. Soon he is out of control and behaving recklessly. But there's something strange about Emily's family, particularly the brooding manservant and Emily's brother Oscar. When Peter is accused of killing Oscar he goes AWOL. For every action, however, there is a consequence, especially in the Marines – there's now a price to pay. Years later, an older and wiser Peter tries to make sense of his bizarre war in New Zealand.
Nicholas Edlin's startling debut novel brilliantly captures the Auckland of the early 1940s and weaves a spellbinding story of love and betrayal that will linger in the reader's mind.