Dr Henry Farthingale was due for a break from his language studies at Camford University. His friend and mentor Sir Nicholas Spenser suggested he spent his sabbatical exploring the bird language of the tribes in the jungle at the end of the river. He was intrigued when the little steamboat arrived to find a thriving town not marked on any maps. He was greeted by Savarin, the bank master, and a marching band, dressed in ragged uniforms, which started playing a medley of national anthems as they led him in a procession up the hill to a half-ruined British residence, abandoned years before.
Henry was surprised to find a hot English meal awaiting him in the residence dining room, and later to discover that a bed had been made up in another room. His suitcase of clothes had been neatly unpacked and folded into a small lowboy. What was going on?
Henry did not believe in fairy stories, but was patient enough to accept, learn and adapt to his new environment. His adventures included love and marriage, the bird trade, a hurricane, bank notes, a witch doctor, wooden carvings, costumes, food, and the devil. Always in the background was the mysterious Sir Nicholas Spenser and the machinations of Camford University.