'Set amid the skyscrapers of 1890s Chicago and the far-flung islands of the South Pacific, Bright and Distant Shores is both a sweeping epic and a triumph of lyrical storytelling. Chicago First Equitable has won the race to construct the world's tallest building and its president, Hale Gray, hits upon a surefire way to make it an enduring landmark: to establish on the roof an exhibition of real-life "savages".
'He sponsors a South Seas voyage to collect not only weaponry and artefacts, but also "several natives related by blood" for the company's rooftop spectacle. Caught up in this scheme are two orphans: Owen Graves, the voyage's head trader from Chicago's South Side, and Argus Niu, a mission houseboy in Melanesia - two young men haunted by their pasts.' (From the publisher's website.)