City of Broken Promises

Front Cover
Hong Kong University Press, 2009 - Fiction - 313 pages
2 Reviews
The city is Macao, the Portuguese settlement on the China Coast, as it was more than 200 years ago. The promises are those made by Englishmen to marry their Macao mistresses, only to leave them abandoned and their children bastards. Martha Merop and her English lover are unique in this period. He, son of the founder of Lloyd's and cousin of the philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, was one of the first merchants to oppose the trade in opium. She, Chinese, abandoned at birth and sold into prostitution at the age of thirteen, became an international trader in her own right, the richest woman on the China Coast and Macao's greatest public benefactress. This moving novel that captures the time and place so convincingly is a historical reconstruction of the years 1780 to 1795 when the two were together. It is based on oral tradition handed down through generations in Macao, and on documents that survive about them in Macao, Lisbon and London. Austin Coates identified Martha Meropís lover, about whom little was known. The documents about him confirmed the traditional Macao story, and the outcome was this book.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RicDay - LibraryThing

A wonderful tale of the early days in Macau, after it became a tiny Portuguese outpost on the coast of China, and base of operations for American, British, and French opium traders, Read full review

Review: City Of Broken Promises (Echoes: Classics Of Hong Kong Culture And History)

User Review  - Jenny Talbot - Goodreads

I really liked this book. Austin Coates is a good author who does well depicting historical situations. The book had a strong ill-educated female lead who was extremely interesting. Read full review

Contents

Part Page Prologue
1
The Decorated Side of the Screen
11
The Reverse Side of the Screen
53
Copyright

5 other sections not shown

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About the author (2009)

Austin Coates (1922--97), a former senior British civil servant in Hong Kong, Malaya, and Sarawak, left government service at age forty to pursue a professional writing career. Widely regarded as the most distinguished English-language author in Hong Kong,

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