London, 1857. Meet Jaf, a young street urchin who survives an encounter with an escaped tiger in the city’s East End and stumbles into a job with its owner, Mr. Jamrach, a collector and seller of wild animals.
Commissioned by Jamrach to find and capture a mysterious, exotic creature, Jaf joins a whaling ship bound for the South Seas and begins a wonder-filled voyage of discovery. But when disaster befalls the crew, Jaf ’s journey becomes a desperate survival tale that pushes love, friendship and humanity to their outermost limits.
Beautifully written and utterly spellbinding, Jamrach’s Menagerie conjures the smells, sights and flavours of the 19th century, from the squalor of Victorian London to the lush islands of the Dutch East Indies. A great, salty, historical adventure, with an extraordinary story of love and sacrifice at its core, this is an astonishing literary achievement.