A daring journey to confront legend and sorcery in a forgotten corner of the South Pacific.
Deep in the stacks of the Bodleian Library, a young man opens a small packet of sand, buried among crates of notes from the first missionaries to the South Pacific. A memento from the scene of a century-old murder, that envelope and its dusty contents send Charles Montgomery on a remarkable quest to find its island source in the forgotten archipelago of Melanesia.
Retracing a voyage made by his missionary great-grandfather, Montgomery seeks out remote shores where gospel and empire never took hold. He discovers communities still steeped in ‘kastom’ – the indigenous religion of spirits, shamans and sorcery – and he meets a bizarre cast of barefoot prophets, witch doctors and gun-runners. Montgomery is confronted by the ongoing struggles between the old world and the new, as Christianity vies with shark spirits and sorcery for the salvation of souls.
By turns funny and profoundly moving, ‘The Shark God’ blends travelogue with history rich in tales of magic, mischief and violence, and it paints a vivid portrait of a place where the unseen world is every bit as powerful as the physical one. As the author is drawn into the world of miracles, his adventure becomes a quest for the origins of myth and faith, and a metaphor for the transforming power of story.
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‘Montgomery’s remarkable debut is a travel story as dark and twisted as one might ever wish to hear…richly seasoned with wonderful language.’ Guardian
‘As both traveler and writer, Montgomery is a thoughtful and entertaining guide, and his story has rich layers of history and anthropology.’ New York Times
‘As delicate and impressively beautiful as any essay of exploration that I have read in recent years…the quality of his prose seems matched only by the wisdom of his observations.’ Simon Winchester, Globe and Mail
‘By far the best book of the whole year, perhaps in any field…Adventurous, thorough in his research – the history is as compelling as the journey – and sensitive to the customs and character of the people he meets, Montgomery has produced a remarkable work. If you seek only one gift this Christmas, ask that it be [“The Shark God”].’ Toronto Star
‘”The Shark God” delves into the myth, magic and spirits of the South Pacific, deftly blending his own journey with that of his missionary great-grandfather.’ Wanderlust
‘A very entertaining book: anyone interested in travel, religion and the South Pacific should read it.’ TabletAbout the Author:
Charles Montgomery was born in 1968 and spent his formative years on a farm on Vancouver Island. He has been a writer and photojournalist for ten years, and lives in Mexico City and Vancouver. This is his first book.
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0004326350
Book Description FOURTH ESTATE, 2006. Book Condition: Very Good. N/A. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP16408613
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2006. Book Condition: Good. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has hardback covers. In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. Bookseller Inventory # 4417452
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. An EX LIBRARY copy in VERY GOOD condition.May have some library identification marks/stamps. Daily dispatch from UK warehouse. This book is in VERY GOOD overall condition, showing only light signs of previous ownership. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002889729
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR007417452
Book Description Fourth Estate 2006-07-17, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. All books are pre-owned and will have been read by someone else before you. They may well show signs of minor wear and tear. Please note, cover images are illustrative only, and the actual book cover and edition can vary. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007202485-21
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 900559
Book Description FOURTH ESTATE, 2006. Book Condition: very good. Gently used. Expect delivery in 20 days. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007202485-3