On 6 February 1819, Stamford Raffles, William Farquhar, Temenggong Abdul Rahman and Sultan Hussein signed a treaty that granted the British East India Company the right to establish a trading settlement on the sparsely populated island of Singapore.
Forbidden Hill (Singapore Saga, Vol. 1) is a meticulously researched and vividly imagined historical narrative that brings to life the stories of the early European, Malay, Chinese and Indian pioneers – the administrators, merchants, policemen, boatmen, coolies, concubines, slaves and secret society soldiers – whose vision and intrigues drive the rapid expansion of the port city in the early decades of the nineteenth century. While Raffles and Farquhar clash over the administration of the settlement, theScottish merchant adventurer Ronnie Simpson and Englishwoman Sarah Hemmings find love and redemption as they battle an American duelist and Illanun pirates. As the ghosts of the rajahs of the ancient city of Singapura fade into the shadows of Forbidden Hill, the new settlers forge their linked destinies in the ‘emporium of the Eastern seas’.
“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 six 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 at in the evening at Changi Village to be a perfect day. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, USA.