Havana in the 1850s is a city as dangerous as it is exotic. The
murder of a humble night watchman at the British Consulate seems to
worry neither the Consul nor the police. But one person cared for
the old man. The enigmatic courtesan Leonarda will not rest until
she understands the mystery of his death. In wintry England, George
Backhouse is plucked from obscurity in the Foreign Office and given
an unexpected promotion. His task: to travel to Cuba and take a
stand against the illegal slave trade still flourishing there. But
Havana is a tinderbox of intrigue. As the great powers of the
region conspire against each other with increasing ruthlessness for
control of the island, Backhouse comes to see that the most
innocent of actions could spark a devastating war. To protect their
interests, the powers-that-be in Whitehall are prepared to turn a
blind eye to many things. Leonarda will not. But what of George
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