Set against the expansion of Singapore in the years 1834-1854, Chasing the Dragon (Singapore Saga, Vol. 2) continues to vividly portray the lives of the early pioneers of the expanding port city, including Joseph Balestier, Seah Eu Chin, Captain Henry Keppel, Tan Tock Seng, Munshi Abdullah, Governor Butterworth and Whampoa as well as fictional characters who bring nineteenth-century Singapore to life.
Duncan Simpson comes to manhood when he joins James Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak, on his expeditions against the piratical Borneo Dayaks; an Indian cattleman turns to tiger hunting when his herd is decimated by disease; a Malay magician conjures up magic spells to capture the love of a woman and destroy her husband; a Chinese mother is haunted by the ghostly cries of her abandoned child; a mesmerist performs a dangerous surgery; and Chinese secret society gangs murder Christian farmers in the interior of the island.
As the troop ships of the British Expeditionary Force assemble in Singapore in preparation for the First Opium War, Hong Xiuquan has a dream that will launch the Taiping Rebellion in China, taking the lives of twenty million and powerfully impacting the fortunes of the new citizens of Singapore.
Chasing the Dragon is volume two in the Singapore Saga, a series of historical fiction that spans the first 100 years of Singapore, and follows Forbidden Hill.
“Brimming with memorable characters, this colourful reimagining of the early history of Singapore restores William Farquhar – long eclipsed by Raffles – to his rightful position at the forefront of the founding of the colonial settlement, and brings the intrigues, personality clashes and violence of the era vividly to life.” Tim Hannigan, author of Raffles and the British Invasion of Java
“John D Greenwood’s second historical novel about Singapore reminds us again just how much its development was owed to its early Scottish pioneers.” The Scotsman, UK
“Greenwood seamlessly weaves invented characters and imagined events into a historically accurate narrative about the early years of the Lion City’s development as a major trading centre.” South China Morning Post, HK
“Forbidden Hill is an imagined but historically faithful account of Singapore’s transition from sleepy fishing village to major trading center in the years between 1812 and 1836. While invented characters and purely imaginary events are woven in, the core of the story actually occurred and a great many of its cast were real personalities.” Asian Review of Books, HK
“100 years of early Singapore in new fiction series.” Straits Times, Singapore
“John Greenwood’s ‘Forbidden Hill’ has pirates, concubines and lost of Scots.” The Star, Malaysia
About the author
John D. Greenwood was born in Elgin, Scotland, and educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. He is currently a professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he specializes in the history of psychology. He is the author of seven books and numerous academic papers.
He was a lecturer in the department of philosophy at the National University of Singapore from 1983-1986, when he first fell in love with Singapore, her people and her history. He returned as senior visiting scholar in 1999-2000 and as visiting professor in 2008-2009. He considers NUS to be his second academic home. He also returns regularly to Singapore to visit old friends and old haunts, and considers a trip to Pulau Ubin followed by chilli or pepper crab in the evening at Changi Village to be a perfect day. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, USA.