The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is a 834-page hardcover published in 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. The dust jacket shows some light surface rubbing. Inside, there is a security sticker affixed to the front end paper. The rest of the book is clean and unmarked.
It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand gold fields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense Gathering of 12 local men who've met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events. A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery and network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.
Richly evoking and mid-nineteenth century world of shipping, banking, and Gold Rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-twenties, and will confirm for critics and readers that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.