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An enthralling adventure story set in India and Bhutan during the final days of the 'Great Game'.

Dr Christina Devenish, Suffragist and Theosophist, is running a
birth control clinic in Bombay in 1931. When the clinic is burnt
down in an independence riot, her father invites her to visit him in
Bhutan, where he is an advisor at the court of the Shabdrung,
Bhutan's version of the Dalai Lama.
Arriving in Calcutta, Christina joins a British expedition to Bhutan
led by Major Owen Davies, a tough Political Officer. Davies has the
coven brief to resolve, even by 'drastic action', the rivalry between
the Shabdrung and the Maharaja, Bhutan's temporal ruler.
Christina's father is deeply embroiled in the Great Game: and for
Davies, he's on the wrong side. As Christina and Owen Davies
journey toward the Himalayas, they begin a hungry love affair,
knowing that other loyalties will soon intrude; and when Christina
meets the Shabdrung, the young god-king's effect on her leads to a
devastating final act.


An unmissable writer.


Barry has an extraordinary talent for creating historical characters who inhabit a convincing past.


Both a history lesson about a hushed-up episode of British imperialism and a dramatic read

Daily Mail

An epic adventure across dangerous mountains and towards the remote kingdom of Bhutan-A convincing read

Big Issue

Passages of lyrical descriptive writing create a vivid sense of place, conjuring the light, colour, wildlife and weather of Bhutan. A rich seam of the picturesque animates the novel

Times Literary Supplement

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Formats & editions

  • Cressida's Bed
    Desmond Barry



    August 1, 2005


    304 pages

    RRP $14.99

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