Alumni Books

The Plant Hunter

London, 1867, and the King’s Road, Chelsea, is lined with exotic plant nurseries, catering to the Victorian obsession with rare and valuable flora. But with the thirst for exotics reaching fever pitch, so too does the market for planthunters – daring adventurers sent into uncharted lands in search of wonders to grace England’s finest gardens.

Harry Compton’s life is a long way from that of a swashbuckling planthunter. Having trained as a humble undergardener, his good looks see him plucked from obscurity to work as a nursery salesman, selling fashionable plants to the well-heeled ladies of Chelsea.

But one small act of kindness leads Harry to inherit a precious gift – a specimen of a fabled plant last heard of in The Travels of Marco Polo. And, along with the specimen, comes a map.

Seizing his chance, Harry strikes out alone for fame and fortune. But where there is wealth there is wickedness, and soon Harry is fleeing England, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and sailing up the Yangtze alongside a prickly young widow – in pursuit of the plant that will transform both their lives forever.

(TL Mogford / Welbeck, 2022)

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