Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asia's last seventy years. Tom Stewart leaves England just before it is hit by the Great Depression to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kong's best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat out from England; their friendship spans decades and changes both their lives. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth, and who is now facing his own difficulties, and opportunities, in the twenty-first century.
The complacency of colonial life in the 1930s; the horrors of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the post-war boom and transformation of Hong Kong into a laboratory of capitalism at its most cut-throat; the growth of the Triads; the handover of the city to the Chinese - all these are present in Fragrant Harbour, an epic novel of one of the world's great cities.