'A very few times in the course of a reader's life a book appears that shatters one's assumptions about how and why things came to pass. A History of Water is one such book. A mind-blowing achievement’
ALBERTO MANGUEL, author of The Library at Night
A HISTORY OF WATER follows the interconnected lives of two men across the Renaissance globe. One of them––an aficionado of mermen and Ethiopian culture, a collector of unusual art, a historian and expert on water-music––returns home from witnessing the birth of the modern age to die in a mysterious incident, apparently the victim of a grisly and curious murder. The other––a ruffian, vagabond and braggart, chased across the globe from Mozambique to Japan––ends up as the national poet of Portugal. Their stories capture the extraordinary wonders that awaited Europeans on their arrival in India and China, the challenges these marvels presented to longstanding beliefs, and the vast conspiracy to silence the questions these posed about the nature of history and of human life.
Due out from William Collins on 4 August 2022, with translations forthcoming from Ariel (Spain), Bollati Boringhieri (Italy) and Bertrand (Portugal). More details soon.
‘A truly engrossing read. Wilson-Lee has the rare knack of re-visiting even the most familiar places as if they were being discovered for the first time. His prose is rich, fluent, absorbing, and free from any affectation. He guides his readers through a kaleidoscope of detail, interrelating various themes with consummate skill, each time shedding very bright light on the origins of global history while remaining firmly rooted in the most meticulous yet unobtrusive scholarship’
Fernando Cervantes, author of Conquistadores