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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Linking past and present as it reveals the fate of an ornithological marvel, BBC Television producer Martin Davies's The Conjurer's Bird is a rarity in its own right -- compelling literary suspense that will appeal to mystery fans, history buffs, and nature lovers.
The Mysterious Bird of Ulieta, seen only once, during Captain Cook's 1774 expedition to a remote Pacific island, is an enigma: "one of Nature's conjuring tricks -- a creature that had disappeared as if with a wave of the hand." Now, more than two centuries later, London conservationist John "Fitz" Fitzgerald -- an authority on extinct birds -- is approached by his former lover and offered a lucrative reward if he can somehow track down the one and only specimen brought back from Cook's expedition. Chances are the preserved remains of the thrush-like bird haven't survived the intervening years; but the highly inquisitive Fitz, with the help of an intrepid graduate student named Katya, sets out to unravel the mystery that begins with the bird's last known owner, the eminent 18th-century naturalist Sir Joseph Banks. As Fitz and Katya delve into Banks's shadowy past in search of clues that will point them toward the Bird of Ulieta, they're continually drawn to his passionate -- and ill-fated -- relationship with his mistress, a mysterious woman named Miss B.
Spellbinding, intense, and oh so bittersweet, The Conjurer's Bird is much more the sum of its parts -- historical mystery, naturalist thriller, heartrending love story: It's a beautifully written and truly unforgettable story. Paul Goat Allen