Set against the development of Singapore in the years 1852-1869, Hungry Ghosts (Singapore Saga, Vol 3) continues the vivid portrayal of the lives of the early pioneers, including Tan Kim Ching, W. H. Read, Habib Noh, Tan Kim Seng, Mother St Mathilde, Syed Ahmed Alsagoff and Whampoa as well as an array of fictional characters who bring nineteenth-century Singapore to life.
A female refugee from the Taiping Rebellion is kidnapped in Amoy and sold as a concubine in Singapore; an enterprising Indian convict converts his training as a metalworker into the more lucrative business of counterfeiting; a terror-filled secret society soldier is led down to the ten courts of hell on the night of the hungry ghosts; Duncan Simpson meets with the Heavenly King in Nanking and is tortured in a Chinese prison; an English wife escapes a loveless marriage when the ‘ghost ship’ CSS Alabama puts into Singapore.
As the fates and fortunes of its protagonists play themselves out against the backdrop of the Indian Mutiny, the Second Opium War and the last years of the Taiping rebellion, Singapore becomes a Crown colony and celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its founding.
Hungry Ghosts is volume three in the Singapore Saga, a series of historical fiction covering the early years of Singapore, and follows Forbidden Hill and Chasing the Dragon.
Praise for the Singapore Saga series
“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 lots 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.