A "lively and epic . . . thoughtful and vivid" historical novel based on the true story that inspired Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon (Publishers Weekly).
The year is 1858. Thomas Glover is a gutsy eighteen-year-old in Aberdeen who grasps the chance of escape to foreign lands and takes a posting as a trader in Japan. Within ten years he amasses a great fortune, plays a huge role in modernizing Japan, and, on the other side of the law, brings about the overthrow of the shogun. Yet beneath Glover's astonishing success lies a man cut to the heart. His love affair with a courtesan—a woman who, unknown to him, would bear him the son for whom he had always longed—would inform a tragedy so heartrending that it would become immortal.
"Part thrilling adventure, part lyrical reflection, and characterized by Spence's pure vision", The Pure Land spans the feudal and the atomic ages, East and West, global history and the private passions of the Scottish merchant-turned-Nagasaki tycoon and hero (Sunday Herald). The result is "a page-turner of the first order. Not merely an engaging and vivid historical novel, but also a meditative work of art that is as finely honed as a samurai's sword" (The Times, London).