The Luminaries Summary
The novel opens in 1866 with Walter Moody, an English lawyer, arriving in Hokitika to try his luck at being a gold-digger in New Zealand. No, not a Kevin Federline type of gold-digger, more like the miner-forty-niner type of gold-digger. Moody has had a harrowing journey by sea, so he's looking to relax when he arrives at the Crown Hotel.
However, when he enters the smoking room that night, he finds he's interrupted a powwow of sorts. As he soon learns, the twelve men in the room have come together to pool their collective knowledge about some weird events and happenings that have been going on in Hokitika lately.
The men include Thomas Balfour, Aubert Gascoigne, Dick Mannering, Sook Yongsheng, Quee Long, Harald Nilssen, Joseph Pritchard, Charles Frost, Cowell Devlin, Edgar Clinch, Ben Löwenthal, and Te Rau Tauwhare. This laundry list of strange things—all of which seem somehow related and surprisingly similar to The Hangover—includes stolen treasure, drug use, mistaken/stolen identities, fraud, a possible murder, a missing man (i.e., another possible murder), gunshots that resulted in no visible damage, and a prostitute who had (apparently?) tried to commit suicide.
Strangely enough, Moody came into Hokitika on a ship captained by the man at the heart of all these strange occurrences (Francis Carver), and he had an encounter on the boat that might be related to them: He thinks he might have seen the ghost of the missing man, Emery Staines.
Their council ends up being interrupted with the news that the Godspeed has wrecked, which puts a damper on any plans to investigate the ship for evidence of Staines's presence. So much for that.
The novel then jumps ahead three weeks to February, to the day the Godspeed is finally pulled up on shore. Moody finally gets his trunk back (which he had left aboard the Godspeed when he disembarked), but only after mistakenly getting Alistair Lauderback's first. And not so mistakenly going through it. During his snooping, Moody finds some letters indicating that Lauderback is actually Crosbie Wells's half-brother. We smell a Jerry Springer episode brewing.
In other news: Crosbie Wells's widow, Lydia (who is also Frank Carver's girlfriend), is holding a séance this evening. Lydia blew into town recently to collect the fortune found in Crosbie Wells's house, and while she was waiting, she started up a business doing fortunes, séances, and the like. On the agenda tonight? The summoning Emery Staines' ghost. Dun-dun-dun.
Also, it's important to know that Lydia has hired Anna, who until recently was a prostitute, to help her in her new venture. Far from being delighted with her change in circumstances, though, Anna appears unhappy and seems to be wasting away. Lydia, who claims to be Anna's old friend from back in Dunedin, keeps her under very tight watch.
Ah Sook, Anna's old opium dealer, misses her very much, so he goes to visit her early on the day of the séance. Much to everyone's surprise, he recognizes Anna's new boss; it seems he knew her—and Frank Carver—prior to coming to Hokitika. In fact, he had sworn to kill Frank Carver to avenge his father's death. Great.
Lydia tries not to let on to Anna that she knows Ah Sook (although Anna can tell they recognize each other), but she invites him to the séance that night. At that event, instead of channeling Staines, she (supposedly) channels Carver, repeating the oath to kill Carver that Sook had uttered many years before.
Perhaps the intention behind these theatrics was to make Sook think Carver was already dead and get him to drop the scent, but Sook quickly finds out that Carver is not only alive, but in town—which, because of a language barrier, he hadn't picked up on from the conversation at the Crown in January.
Sook starts plotting to kill Carver now that they're back in the same city and disappears so no one will interfere with him in the meantime (since he knows Lydia will warn Carver). When he finally goes to do the deed in March, however, another old acquaintance, George Shepard, kills him before he can get off a shot at Carver. Right in the knick of time. Shepard claims he was just doing his duty as a lawman, but it seems an awful lot like revenge—you see, Shepard believes that Sook killed his brother back in Sydney. Disney got it right—it really is a small world after all.
On the same night that Sook is killed, Emery Staines turns up gravely wounded in Crosbie Wells's cabin. Wait—isn't this guy supposed to be dead?!
Te Rau and some others get him back to town to receive medical attention, and there Emery is reunited with Anna—apparently, they had fallen in love before he disappeared.
They end up standing trial together for a variety of crimes, quite a few of which are related to bizarre occurrences that Anna and Emery aren't quite able to explain. For example, Anna had fainted in the Magistrate's office, and everyone thought it was from opium—however, her mouth showed no signs of opium use. Curiouser and curiouser.
Similarly, Staines was found with a bullet wound in his chest—one that shoddy nineteenth century forensic evidence indicates came from Anna's gun—but he is never really able to adequately explain how that happened. He comes up with a story to explain it, but that tale appears to be fabricated, cooked up to try to explain a whole series of odd events and facts that don't actually appear to have a coherent, non-supernatural explanation. Are you thinking what we're thinking? This sounds like a job for the Ghost Hunters; they'd probably get to the bottom of it all.
Anyway, Staines is sentenced to nine months of hard labor, and Anna is acquitted. Despite the fact that he is going to jail, Emery is optimistic about his future prospects, and he makes sure that Anna will have some cash while he was away. They appear to be fairly happy overall, now that they are together, despite all the stuff that's happened and the difficulties they've been through.
Meanwhile, Walter Moody finally leaves Hokitika to go mining. His father rolls into town looking for him just as he leaves.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Mercury in Sagittarius (27 January 1866)
- Twelve men are hanging out in the smoking room at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika. They apparently were in the middle of something when a man named Walter Moody entered.
- We learn a bit more about Moody and his background, including how he got to Hokitika. It seems that Moody has come to look for gold.
- The men start chatting with Moody. In particular, a man called Balfour takes an interest in Moody's story about how he came there that night. We learn more about Balfour.
- Along the way, we learn that this party of twelve was never meant to be disturbed; the men had actually taken precautions (including a lookout) to ensure they would be left alone. But since Moody was staying at the Inn, and had arrived before the lookout had been set up, he slipped through the net.
- Also, we learn in drips and drabs that Moody's boat trip from Port Chalmers to Hokitika on the Godspeed was, er, eventful—he is having flashbacks of a "bloody cravat" and mentions seeing something horrific, though he doesn't come out with the full story right away …
- Balfour tries to draw Moody out, pressing him to come out with the story of why he decided to come to Hokitika. Despite the fact that Moody has indicated it's private, Balfour keeps on pressing. Meanwhile, Moody thinks about his journey to Hokitika.
- Eventually, Moody relents and comes out with a tale of family woe/drama. It seems his father, Adrian Moody, is kind of a rogue. After Moody's mama died, Moody's father remarried, but then treated his wife like crud. Then he disappeared.
- Thinking that his brother (who was in New Zealand) was totally in the dark as to all of this, Walter sailed to New Zealand to find/tell him. But before he could find Frederick (that's his bro's name), he ran into his dad. Who had remarried again.
- Walter learned that his bro and his pops had planned Adrian's disappearance/abandonment of his wife together. Adrian was not happy that Walter had found him and tried to keep him from leaving, but he escaped. He then decided to leave for Hokitika under a different name to prevent his father from following him. He explained that he didn't want to return to London to pursue his law career in the wake of all his discoveries, opting instead for the "hard labor" of gold digging.
- After he's done telling his story, he notices that everyone in the room has relaxed now.
- Balfour then proceeds to give Moody some advice on how to get into the groove of things in Hokitika.
- Then the topic rolls back around to Moody's sea voyage to Hokitika, and he reveals that he came by the Godspeed. Suddenly, all the men in the room are back on edge and all ears.
- Then Balfour asks Moody for more details—and specifically the captain's name. Moody replies that he believes the name was Carver. Balfour asks Moody for his opinion of the captain.
- It seems that Carver was in a hurry to leave Dunedin—which is why they left despite the fact that there was a storm brewing. Moody didn't really ever meet Carver, but he admits that he "discovered certain particulars concerning the ship's cargo, while aboard, that made me doubt her errand was an honest one."
- Then Moody finally decides to show his annoyance at being questioned so intently, and different pairings of the men confer in whispers about what they have just heard. Balfour goes to get Moody a drink.
- While Balfour is doing that, a man named Aubert Gascoigne introduces himself to Moody. It turns out Moody has read an opinion piece he had written on behalf of the Magistrate's Court.
- Although his piece had been on the "iniquity of crime" in general, Gascoigne starts talking in particular about someone named Anna Wetherell, who was arrested for trying to kill herself. Apparently, she's somehow related to Carver, though we don't yet know how. Gascoigne also claims that Carver killed his own child.
- Then Dick Mannering comes over to introduce himself. He runs the Prince of Wales Opera House.
- Meanwhile, the men surrounding Moody continue to whisper. Finally, Balfour and a dark-haired man return to sit with Moody. Balfour hands Moody a drink.
- Gascoigne announces that they are planning to take Moody into their confidence, if Moody agrees. The dark-haired man asks the room if anyone has an objection.
- Balfour then announces that there has been a murder, and that Carver is the murderer—he isn't sure how or why, but he's sure that Carver is the killer. Balfour is hoping to give Moody a history of Carver that will convince him to help the group out.
- Moody wonders why he would be particularly helpful to the men in pursuing Carver, and Balfour reminds him that he has told them his trunk is still aboard the Godspeed, and he has an appointment at the customhouse the next day to retrieve it. Which would give him an opportunity to investigate the ship.
- Then Balfour begins the story of how those twelve men came to be assembled there.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Jupiter in Sagittarius (27 January 1866)
- Now we get some background on Balfour and how he came to be associated with a man named Alistair Lauderback, who was the Superintendent of Canterbury.
- Balfour is a shipping agent, and one day Lauderback came to see him. It seems he had four ships (including the Godspeed, which is the boat Moody came in on), and he was looking to lease them to an established shipping company. Since Balfour's company needed a clipper, Balfour agreed to find a master for the Virtue and lease it.
- A few months later, when the Godspeed came rolling into Hokitika, Balfour recognized the name from Lauderback's initial visit and went to introduce himself to its master, Francis Carver. They had friendly relations after that point, but apparently Balfour always thought he was kind of a shady character.
- In 1865, Lauderback decided he was going to run for the Westland seat in Parliament, and enlisted Balfour's help in making sure he had everything he needed (e.g., lodgings) to make sure he could "appear as a Westland man."
- Balfour was also supposed to help facilitate a shipment of Lauderback's things to Hokitika. While his stuff was traveling by sea, Lauderback was supposed ride to Hokitika through the mountains on horseback so he could appear more like a man of the people.
- Being very devoted to Lauderback, Balfour did everything he was asked—and made sure the local paper (the West Coast Times) knew what Lauderback was planning so he could get some good press out of it.
- Unfortunately for Lauderback, his arrival was more a series of misadventures than a blaze of glory.
- First, when they stopped at the house of a hermit to ask for some refreshments, they found the hermit was dead. So they got themselves some tea and hit the road.
- Then they had another misadventure when they got close to town when they found a woman lying in the middle of the road, basically unconscious. It seems she was a prominent prostitute in town.
- So, Lauderback's first introductions in town were to the magistrate, the coroner, and the editor of the West Coast Times…and the death of the hermit and the discovery of the prostitute (who had apparently overdosed on opium) in the road kind of eclipsed Lauderback's big entrance in Hokitika.
- That brings us up to the morning of the day the story starts—that is, the day Moody arrived in Hokitika and hightailed it to the Crown hotel.
- That morning, Lauderback and Balfour had been having breakfast at the Palace Hotel.
- It seems that Balfour was nervous, because a couple of weeks prior to that breakfast, Lauderback's crate had arrived in Hokitika (a couple of days in advance of Lauderback's actual arrival). Unfortunately, the crate then totally disappeared. Balfour was worried about telling Lauderback about the theft/disappearance …
- In discussing various and sundry matters, Balfour brought up Gascoigne's piece in the paper about the woman Lauderback had found in the street. Apparently Balfour felt that the piece read like a reprimand of the entire town "on the girl's account." Balfour didn't appreciate that, and Lauderback agreed that Gascoigne is a "two-bit clerk."
- Then they argued a bit about what the proper attitude toward Anna (the prostitute) and her crime (of trying to commit suicide) should be. Also, they talked about public welfare and its role in "civilization."
- Eventually, Balfour changed the subject to the fact that he had seen the Godspeed in town over the past year.
- Much to his surprise, instead of answering, Lauderback was strangely quiet and seemingly solemn.
- Lauderback's aides, who were also present, tried to steer the subject away from the Godspeed, but Balfour wasn't getting the message that he should get off the topic …
- Finally, Lauderback admitted he had sold the barque to the ship's master for some gold. Balfour identified the master as Carver, which surprised Lauderback—he had known the ship's captain as Wells. They figured out that they were definitely talking about the same man, but Lauderback insisted that Francis had used the last name "Wells" when they did up the paperwork.
- Then Lauderback mentioned that he thought Crosbie Wells (the dead hermit Lauderback had encountered on his journey) and Frank Wells were brothers.
- The men were puzzled by the inconsistency in their knowledge of Francis Carver (or, er, Wells), and Lauderback wondered if they were actually thinking of the same man. They talked about Crosbie Wells and whether he could be Frank's brother. They also talked about Lauderback and his men finding the body.
- While they were chatting, Balfour let slip that Crosibe's wife, Lydia Wells, had turned up soon after Crosbie's death. No one had known Crosbie had had a wife …
- At this news, Lauderback was completely shocked/blown away—apparently that name meant something to him.
- After asking his aides to leave, Lauderback explained how he knew the name Lydia Wells. Apparently a woman with that same name was the mistress of a place called the House of Many Wishes, a gambling house in Dunedin (also in New Zealand) where Lauderback was a customer. It seems that Lauderback was, ahem, close with Lydia (but he assured Balfour that no money was exchanged). He would visit her whenever he was in Dunedin.
- However, on one of his trips, he discovered that Lydia actually had a husband—one named Francis Wells. He had returned while Lauderback was away. Up to that point, Lauderback had had no idea she was married—she had used her maiden name, Greenway, at the gambling house.
- Lauderback tried to make things right immediately by backing off from Lydia (oh, and we should mention that Lauderback had recently gotten married himself …).
- He was pretty worried about his reputation, especially since he had just become Superintendent. Despite his efforts to clear the whole thing up honorably, things got complicated from there …
- Rather than blackmailing Lauderback or even asking for anything right away, Carver had instead taken Lauderback into his confidence and admitted that he was a murderer—without offering any other details, of course. And he said he was being pursued for that crime.
- Carver went on to say that Lauderback had been "marked as his mate," so any "avenger" would come after him as well.
- Somehow, Carver had gotten Lauderback under his power. According to Lauderback, it was like Carver had a "twinkle" on him. "Twinkles" were reflective items that some gamblers (aka cheaters) stuck in the end of their cigars so they could look at other people's cards without them knowing and gain an advantage. According to Lauderback, Carver had somehow done something like that to him, but he claimed to have no idea what the "twinkle" could be—that is, the special insight or knowledge that gave Carver a leg up.
- Again, though, for now Carver was not blackmailing Lauderback—he just wanted a position on the Godspeed.
- Then Lauderback went back to Canterbury, hoping that Carver would meet some misfortune/accident that would take him out of the picture.
- However, no such luck. A year later (and a year ago from when the book begins), he got a receipt in the mail for shipping a bunch of stuff …that he'd never actually shipped (or paid for).
- He went to Dunedin to try to figure out what had happened, but the captain of the ship, Raxworthy, wasn't around to answer questions. Instead, he found Carver.
- Carver explained that he himself had created the paper trail that Lauderback just got wind of (and a receipt for), which documented shipments of women's clothes. Apparently, he was trying to create the impression that Lauderback was sending Lydia Wells clothes. He pulled off the scheme with Lydia's help.
- The most recent shipment contained a bunch of money that was undeclared, which meant Lauderback was legally in "breach of duty." Also, the money belonged to Carver, so if anyone ever investigated, it would look like Lauderback had been stealing money from his mistress's husband. If all this had been discovered and traced back to Lauderback (as Carver had intended), he'd be in deep trouble.
- So, Lauderback asked Carver what he wanted, and he said he wanted the Godspeed. Lauderback, since he was totally in a corner, agreed.
- Upon hearing this whole story, Balfour was convinced Lauderback wasn't telling him everything he knew.
- Meanwhile, Lauderback had realized that if Carver forged his name, the sale of the ship was void—so now he had something over Carver, finally. Lauderback then admitted that he was out to expose Carver and take back his ship. Not publicly, since that would bring his misdeeds to light, but privately via blackmail.
- Lauderback became super excited about the prospect of getting revenge on Carver. All he had to do is get his copy of the bill of sale for the ship out of the trunk of things he had shipped to Hokitika …
- Naturally, Balfour was not as excited, since he knew the crate with that trunk was missing. He then lied to Lauderback about its whereabouts, saying the ship carrying it hadn't arrived.
- They parted ways soon after, with Balfour promising to go down to the wharf to ask after Carver's whereabouts.
- In their parting, Balfour suddenly realized somehow that Lauderback knew exactly what "twinkle" Carver had on him, even while he claimed he didn't.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Mars in Sagittarius (27 January 1866)
- This chapter picks up with Balfour still sitting in the restaurant.
- He was still sitting there (to drink some wine that otherwise would have gone to waste) when he realized that the clergyman at the next table was staring at him. It seems the gentleman overheard some of Balfour's conversation with Lauderback. Balfour asked him to keep whatever he heard to himself.
- The clergyman referenced some "bad news" Lauderback and Balfour had been discussing. It seems he was referring to Crosbie Wells. He then told Balfour that he had been involved in digging Wells's grave.
- Then we get a whole lot of backstory on this holy man, whose name is Cowell Devlin. He was a new arrival to Hokitika, having come a couple of days before Crosbie Wells died. He was to be the chaplain at the prison once the new "gaol-house" was finished.
- Devlin's memories take us through his involvement in collecting Crosbie Wells's body. It seems that while he was in Wells's house, he found a piece of paper half-burned in the range that granted a bunch of money to Anna Wetherell from Emery Staines. Wells was the witness.
- Instead of reporting the find (or telling Balfour about it—remember, this is all in his head), Devlin held on to the paper.
- Anyway, back in the restaurant, Devlin and Balfour parted ways when Balfour left.
- When Balfour got outside, he saw a Maori man sitting on the veranda of the Reserve Bank. He recognized the man, Te Rau Tauwhare, as a friend of Crosbie Wells.
- We then get some backstory on that relationship.
- Through their conversation, Balfour learned that Te Rau saw four people enter Crosbie's house on the night he died: Lauderback and his aides (who claimed to enter after Crosbie was dead), and one other (who entered earlier).
- Balfour was super interested in hearing more about the person who entered earlier. Te Rau said he'd give him the name for a pound. However, Balfour just took a guess…and judged from Te Rau's reaction that he was right. His guess was Francis Carver.
- Then Balfour went into the Reserve Bank to find out if Carver had taken out a miner's right in New Zealand. When that yielded nothing, he asked if Carver owned shares in any mining company or a private claim. Turns out that he did—he owned fifty percent of the Aurora mine, which was owned by Emery Staines. Staines had recently vanished.
- The banker was mighty suspicious about all these questions, and Balfour finally admitted that his cover story (that he was going into business with Carver) was false, saying he suspected Carver of wrongdoing and that's why he was investigating. The banker, whose name was Charlie Frost, said it really wasn't any of his business.
- Balfour then went down to the quay and chatted with some stevedores there. He learned that Carver had done time under Shepard (the jailer) on Cockatoo Island. Shepard had actually followed Carver to New Zealand.
Part 1, Chapter 4
- Back in the book's present in the Crown smoking room, Balfour ends up giving the floor over to Joseph Pritchard (the "dark-haired man") and Harald Nilssen.
- It seems that while Balfour was hanging out on the wharf, Nilssen and Pritchard were meeting in Nilssen's office.
- They were discussing Crosbie Wells. In Pritchard's view, both he and Nilssen were in a sticky spot. Nilssen told Pritchard that he hadn't done anything wrong, but Pritchard was still concerned, because Nilssen had managed the sale of Crosbie Wells's property and made a good profit in doing so. Through their conversation, we learn that something called a "bounder" was found in Crosbie's estate. Nilssen claimed he had had no prior knowledge of it.
- Pritchard was convinced there was some kind of conspiracy going on that caused Crosbie Wells's property to be sold off super quick, right before a huge fortune was discovered there. Also, in other fishiness, a dram of Pritchard's laudanum was found under Crosbie's bed, but Pritchard had never sold to him.
- Pritchard believed that Crosbie had been murdered—and he thought that he and Nilssen would be fingered as conspirators. He also said he thought Emery Staines was dead.
- Nilssen suggested going to the authorities at once, but Pritchard was afraid of doing that without all the facts.
- We also learn that Nilssen would have to pay his commission for the sale of Crosbie's property back if his widow's arrival in Hokitika made the sale invalid (which was expected).
- They batted around ideas about a possible conspiracy and who was involved.
- Pritchard believed that a "Chinaman" was involved, and suggested that talking to a man named Quee would be informative. He wanted Nilssen to do it, since he himself and Quee had had a disagreement over Anna …
- Apparently Ah Sook, a Chinese man who ran an opium den at Kaniere, thought Pritchard's opium supply was poisoned—somehow this means that Pritchard doesn't have access to Quee.
- While they were talking, Nilssen's clerk came in to announce that George Shepard had come for a visit. Pritchard took his leave after getting Nilssen to promise to visit Quee.
- Once Pritchard had left, Shepard came in.
- Even though they weren't really acquainted, Shepard had come to Nilssen with a business proposal: He wanted Nilssen to use his 40 pounds from the sale of Crosbie's property to help finance the building of a jailhouse. He said he would pay him back with interest before Nilssen was likely to have to pay it back to Crosbie's estate (which both men thought was certain to happen).
- Although Shepard claimed not to be blackmailing Nilssen, Nilssen definitely felt that Shepard was putting the screws to him to ensure his compliance by emphasizing that he, too, thinks the quick sale of Crosbie's property looks fishy. In Nilssen's view, Shepard was treating him as a guilty man …
- After Shepard left, Nilssen called his clerk back in to ask him the details of who found Crosbie Wells. He was dismayed to realize it was Alistair Lauderback.
- Ten minutes later, he left for Kaniere.
Part 1, Chapter 5
Midnight Dawns in Scorpio (27 January 1866)
- Instead of going back to his lab after leaving Nilssen, Pritchard headed to the Gridiron hotel to see Anna Wetherell.
- We then get a bit more intel on Pritchard's backstory and his relationship with Anna.
- Pritchard questioned Anna about her alleged suicide attempt. She claimed that she wasn't trying to commit suicide; she simply took her pipe and then was knocked out until she woke up in jail.
- Pritchard wanted to get a sample of the remaining opium in her possession to see if it was tampered with/poisoned (to explain her extreme reaction that night—she usually didn't get knocked out so completely), but she claimed she didn't have it anymore. He thought she was lying.
- She noted that Ah Sook, the owner of the opium den in Kaniere, thought Pritchard was the one who poisoned the opium.
- Pritchard got agitated and started searching the room for the opium, convinced Anna was lying about not having it.
- In his anger, he lunged at her, and Anna pulled a gun. In the commotion, the gun went off and she appeared to have shot herself in the chest. As that was happening, Aubert Gascoigne entered the room.
- They soon realized that Anna was not shot, much to everyone's surprise. They couldn't figure out where the bullet had gone.
- Soon after, Pritchard left, with Anna still claiming that she didn't have what he was looking for. She asked him to explain the gunshots to the people downstairs by saying she was cleaning her gun.
- At this point in the story, we zoom back to the present, where Moody is asking a question about how Anna was holding her pistol when it went off. It seems he might have something to contribute in the way of an explanation, but he'll hold off until the rest of the story is complete.
- After leaving Anna, Pritchard went back to his drug hall, left a sign saying he was out of the office until Monday, and then went to his lab.
- He then settled in to consider his encounter with Anna. He was convinced she was lying to protect someone.
- We then get some backstory on Pritchard's opium operation. Francis Carver supplies his opium, so we get some more reflections on Carver himself. Then Pritchard worked.
- Then, Albert, Nilssen's clerk, walked in with a note from his employer. Apparently Nilssen wanted Albert to watch Pritchard burn it when he was through reading it.
- Nilssen's note said that he had met with Quee per Pritchard's request, and he had admitted the gold was his work, although he had no clue how it ended up in Wells's cabin. He proposed a council that very evening at the Crown to talk all these strange events out.
Part 1, Chapter 6
Moon in Taurus, Waxing (27 January 1866)
- The book returns to Charlie Frost, the banker, to see what he got up to after Balfour's visit to the bank that morning. Apparently, he got curious and started looking through the bank's records, discovering that the Aurora mine had seemed to dry up suddenly after Staines, the owner, sold half the shares to Frank Carver.
- Frost then left for the day and went to visit Dick Mannering, Anna's, er, boss—and the previous owner of the Aurora mine.
- They talked about Anna and Emery Staines, who had been together the night Staines disappeared.
- Then, Mannering turned the topic to Frost's involvement the quick sale of Crosbie Wells's property, saying the expedited sale looked really bad now that a widow had come forward.
- Frost denied any wrongdoing, but he was in a pinch—Clinch, upon buying the Wells property, had given Frost a thank you gift of 30 pounds, much of which Frost had already spent. He would have to repay that if the sale was revoked. He did not admit that to Mannering, however.
- Frost explained that he was visiting Mannering because he didn't believe the fortune found in Wells's house actually belonged to him. He explained that when the fortune was found, the name "Aurora" had been stamped into the gold—which means it belonged to the Staines mine, and not Crosbie Wells.
- For some reason, this news made Mannering extremely angry, and he thought that Frost was up to something in bringing this intel to him now. Frost was bewildered.
- Once Frost had convinced him he wasn't up to anything shady, Mannering decided he was going to go visit Johnny Quee, the digger at the Aurora. He started packing up pistols and wanted Frost to be armed as well and to come with.
- Frost refused until Mannering told him what was going on.
- Mannering explained that the Aurora was actually a dry claim, and that he had been "salting" it—that is, taking gold from another source and scattering it on the land to make it appear that the claim was still producing—prior to selling. Each time Quee dug it out, he'd re-salt the land with that same gold.
- At some point, Quee, the digger, had figured out what Mannering was doing and started retorting the gold into little blocks with "Aurora" engraved on them, making it harder for him to pull off the re-salting fraud.
- Then Staines arrived in town, and Mannering sold him the Aurora.
- Anyway, because now four thousand pounds worth of Aurora-stamped gold had turned up in Crosbie's house, and Mannering thought it was time to have a chat with Quee, the author of that signature smelting style…
- At this point, the story moves over to what Balfour was up to at around the same time. It seems he was visiting Ben Löwenthal, the editor of the West Coast Times.
- Balfour wanted to know who had been putting notices in the paper asking about Staines. Löwenthal claimed it was Anna Wetherell.
- After talking about that for a while, the men moved on to the topic of Francis Carver. It seems when he left two weeks ago on an unscheduled trip, he got Löwenthal in trouble, since Ben hadn't reported the trip in the paper (because he didn't know about it). Then Balfour revealed to Ben that Carver had seen Crosbie Wells that night, according to Tauwhare.
- They continued to discuss these and other related fishy goings-on for a while. Ben noted that Cowell Devlin had also been by to ask about the Staines notice in the paper. Apparently, Devlin really wanted to talk to Staines.
- At this point, in the present, Ben interjects with some additional knowledge. It seems that the man known as Frank Carver (Ben is fairly sure it was him) had come to him the year before to advertise for a lost shipping crate. To prove his name, he provided a birth certificate that said "Crosbie Francis Wells" on it.
- Ben had printed the ad, but omitted the "Francis" to save room. Carver came back furious, insisting that the ad had to be published with his middle name in there. The news causes quite a stir in the room.
- Anyway, back in the past, the story zooms over to Kaniere, where Mannering and Frost had traveled to meet with Quee earlier that day. Although Mannering was packing a lot of heat, he assured Charlie that there would be no need for the gun …
Part 1, Chapter 7
Sun in Capricorn (27 January 1866)
- Now we're back in the hotel room with Gascoigne and Anna, and we hear a little bit about how they got to know each other—and how he became involved in helping her hide a fortune of gold that she found sewn into her dress.
- We also get some details about Gascoigne's past.
- In their encounter at the hotel, Anna and Gascoigne talked about that strange incident with the gun, where the thing fired but…there appeared to be no bullet hole anywhere.
- They also discussed the missing opium.
- It appears that Gascoigne had a surprise for Anna—he was taking her to meet an as-yet unidentified woman to shop for hats.
- Anna mentioned that her landlord, Edgar Clinch, had demanded her outstanding rent immediately, despite the fact that he had just come into a lot of money by buying Crosbie Wells's cabin (which contained the fortune everyone has been talking about). Anna was going to have trouble paying up, since she had recently quit working as a prostitute.
- She wanted to get some of the gold Gascoigne was hiding for her, but he refused to give it to her. He also refused to front her the money—and was irritated at his perception that she wanted him to do so.
Part 1, Chapter 8
Medium Coeli/Imum Coeli (27 January 1866)
- Gascoigne left the Gridiron, discussing the pistol shots and general ruckus in Anna's room with the valet and Edgar on his way out.
- Edgar was in a foul mood and apparently inclined to be angry at Pritchard for giving Anna the drug that sent her into the loopy state that prompted her to collapse in the middle of the road a couple of weeks before. He vented about that to Gascoigne—that and Francis Carver, who apparently had beat Anna up a few months ago, which resulted in her miscarrying a baby.
- Gascoigne then got on Clinch's case for requiring Anna to pay up all the rent. So, yeah, things got more unpleasant between the two men from there.
- We then hear Edgar Clinch's thoughts and memories about Anna, including his discovery of gold in her dresses one day (which he assumed Anna was purposely smuggling for Dick Mannering). In his flashback, we learn that Anna's dresses had been purchased from the salvage of a cargo steamer that had wrecked.
- It seems that Edgar was in love with her and had considered proposing.
- Anyway, after their argument, Gascoigne eventually left in a huff.
Part 1, Chapter 9
True Node in Virgo (27 January 1866)
- This chapter opens with some background on Quee Long, a digger of Chinese extraction, and a meeting he had had with Ah Sook, another digger (and an opium dealer) who was also originally from China.
- Ah Sook had sought out Quee and soon launched into a story explaining why he was there.
- Ah Sook explained that a couple of weeks ago, he had seen an old enemy in the street: Frank Carver (who was bartering with a Maori man).
- Sook didn't get into the full details of his hatred for Frank with Quee, simply explaining that Carver was a murderer and Sook had vowed to kill him in revenge.
- He didn't approach Carver at that moment; instead, he went after the Maori man, who turned out to be Te Rau Tauwhare. Te Rau explained that Carver had offered him money for information on Crosbie Wells many months ago, and now Te Rau had some—and had offered it to Carver for a price.
- Sook didn't really care about any of this, so he thanked Te Rau and got on his way.
- Heading back to Kaniere, he came across Anna. He was in a good mood, so he gave her a fresh half-ounce of opium resin as a present.
- He then took Quee through how he came to hear about the crazy events that followed on that same day (January 14th), including Anna's suicide attempt (?), and his reaction to those goings-on.
- Ah Sook had decided that Pritchard was responsible for selling Anna bad dope, so he went to Balfour (since he was the shipping agent who handled Pritchard's business) to complain.
- Balfour had told Ah Sook that he didn't have anything to do with Pritchard's cargo and he should talk to his supplier—Frank Carver.
- Naturally, Ah Sook was shocked to hear Carver's name. Balfour told him Carver had just left town again, likely for Canton.
- Sook then went to go find Crosbie Wells to talk to him about Carver, but found that he was dead. He became convinced that Carver's rapid departure was somehow related to the death.
- While Ah Sook was telling Quee this story, Mannering burst in with Frost in tow and started interrogating Quee about the Aurora gold. Between the language barrier and Mannering's abusive approach, however, it was hard for the men to communicate …
- Ah Sook, who had a bit more English, tried to translate between Mannering and Quee, with moderate success.
- Mannering ended up interrogating both men, with Frost trying to get him to be less jerky about it throughout.
- Quee eventually explained how he got the gold from Anna's dress and smelted it so that the Aurora name was stamped on it. He was trying to kill two birds with one stone: he wanted to get revenge on Mannering and put some cash toward his debt to the mine (since he was an indentured servant). Quee was originally indentured to the Aurora, which was a duffer claim, through Mannering—making it basically impossible for him to earn his way out of his indenture. By smelting the gold and banking it for the Aurora, he was solving his financial/freedom problem and (he thought) sticking it to Mannering.
- They also discussed Staines, though Sook and Quee didn't have much to tell Mannering on that front.
- Then, Quee told Mannering that Staines hadn't actually banked the money for the Aurora, which means Quee was cheated out of his (stolen) money.
- Then Mannering decides to get physical with Ah Sook to put pressure on Quee to cough up more information on Staines and his whereabouts.
- In the middle of all this, Harald Nilssen showed up.
- The visitors had realized they were all there for the same purpose, and then Frost suggested trying to pose the questions to Quee and Sook again, but this time in writing (using a book of Chinese phrases that Mannering kept in his pocket).
- Before they even needed to use the book, however, Sook dropped a bomb. He said he knew a secret about Crosbie Wells: that he'd struck gold in Dunstan, on the Otago fields.
- At this point, Moody interrupts the men's story in the present to ask some questions.
- Then, we go back into the past.
- The men questioned Ah Sook further about Wells's strike, and he said it happened two years ago and was worth many thousands.
- Ah Sook and Quee continued to maintain that Quee had not known Crosbie Wells.
- Then Sook dropped his final bombshell: when the men were trying to figure out who else was involved or behind this whole messy conspiracy to pilfer gold (which might have been a frame job on Quee, Nilssen suggested), Sook pointed the finger at Te Rau Tauwhare.
Part 1, Chapter 10
Venus in Capricorn (27 January 1866)
- After leaving Anna, Gascoigne went over to the Wayfarer Hotel to meet the woman he had tried to set Anna up with—who turns out to be Mrs. Lydia Wells.
- He told her that Anna was not coming because of a headache. It's too bad, because (according to Lydia) she and Anna were once BFFs, which is why she wanted to surprise her.
- Gascoigne mentioned that Anna was about to get turned out of the Gridiron, and so Lydia decided that Anna would have to come live with her.
- After Lydia had totally made up her mind on that front, she announced to Aubert that she had actually just purchased the Wayfarer and was going to convert it to a kind of entertainment palace where she would hold séances and such.
- She had even more news after that: She was about to be married, but she wouldn't say to whom.
- Then we get some further backstory on how Aubert and Lydia got to know each other, and Lydia's version of her friendship with Anna.
- Despite the fact that Aubert had clearly been sweet on Lydia (at least, until he heard she was going to be married), he had betrayed his friend Anna—that is, he had not mentioned the pile of gold he had under his bed belonging to her.
- While they were talking, Lydia admitted that when she owned a gambling house before, she had rigged the gambling wheel so it never landed on the jackpot. Well, almost never—one time, when the machine "failed," it did hit the jackpot—and Crosbie Wells won.
- Instead of immediately paying out the prize money (which she didn't actually have, of course), she offered Crosbie her hand in marriage instead. He accepted the substitution.
- Unfortunately, within a month, they were at each other's throats, so it wasn't the happiest marriage.
- Finally, the last big news Lydia dropped on Aubert was that the next month would be "without a moon"—that is, it would never be completely full in February (since it's a short month). Alrighty then …
Part 1, Chapter 11
Conjunctions (27 January 1866)
- Now we're back with Reverend Cowell in the dining room at the Palace Hotel. He decided to leave and walk up to the Hokitika via the Seaview terrace.
- While walking, he realized someone was walking after him. It turned out to be Te Rau Tauwhare.
- After introducing themselves, they discussed Crosbie Wells, since Devlin knew they were friends.
- Devlin asked Te Rau if he knew Francis Carver, and Te Rau remembered giving Carver information about Wells's whereabouts, thinking it would do no harm—men ask after other men all the time. He had had no idea he was putting Crosbie in danger, but he felt super guilty about it.
- Devlin asked if Carver and Crosbie were brothers, and Te Rau was just puzzled.
- Then the men walked to Crosbie's grave together. Te Rau considered confessing his role in Crosbie's death to Devin.
- Then the narrative zooms over to what Ben Löwenthal was doing at that same time. Frost came to visit him to discuss what had happened in Chinatown that afternoon.
- Frost explained that they were assembling a list of suspects, and they were meeting at the Crown Hotel that night to discuss them. So far, the group included Quee, Frost, Clinch, Pritchard, and Nilssen. Frost wanted Ben to come as well.
- Ben agreed and said they should add Balfour to the list.
- Ben seemed to mistrust Frost, so things got a bit icy when Frost balked at Balfour's trustworthiness.
- Eventually, they said their goodbyes, with Ben promising to go ask Tom himself.
- Meanwhile, Dick Mannering, when he got back from Kaniere, had gone to see Edgar Clinch to tell him about the meeting that evening.
- Clinch told him that Lydia Wells had come by to fetch Anna, explaining that they knew each other (although Mannering had already known that—he had frequented Lydia's House of Many Wishes back in Dunedin.
- Clinch started ranting about how Anna and Lydia were in on something together. This time, Mannering had no idea what he was talking about. Clinch explained they were in on whatever was going on with Anna's dresses—but when he realized Mannering wasn't in the loop on the gold in the dresses (much less the mastermind, as he had thought originally), he quickly tried to backtrack and cover what he had actually meant.
- Apparently, Lydia had paid up Anna's debt to Clinch. Mannering hadn't yet been paid, and apparently Anna had given up the profession, so …
- … Mannering was furious. However, Clinch then told him that Anna had said that Mannering should go ask Aubert Gascoigne for the money, which was hidden under his bed.
- So, both men were annoyed, but eventually they turned back to the topic of the meeting that evening and the details surrounding it, speculating on who was responsible for the strange events taking place lately.
- Then the narrative changes positions yet again and follows what Sook and Quee had done after the meeting in Kaniere. Apparently, they had hit the road to Hokitika.
- On the way, they chatted about the mysteries surrounding Crosbie and the gold. Quee told Sook that he had never thought the gold had belonged to Anna, and they talked about whether what Quee did was theft.
- Then they talked about Emery Staines and whether he was a thief.
- This section ends with Sook about to launch into the story of his relationship with Carver—but the narrative switches yet again before we get to hear it.
- Instead, we skip over to Harald Nilssen's office, where he was writing that note to Pritchard. He asked Albert to deliver it.
- He then thought about his promise to George Shepard from earlier that day and considered whether he would tell the group about their agreement that night at the meeting. He was convinced Shepard knew a lot more than he was saying.
- Ultimately, he decided that he would share the intel with the group.
- He finished thinking about all that in time for Albert's return with Pritchard's reply.
- Albert asked Nilssen to come to Mannering's new play that night, but Nilssen (because of the secret meeting) had to refuse.
- When Albert left, he read Pritchard's return note. It mentioned vaguely the weird pistol action in Anna's room earlier that evening.
- We then move (yet again) to another location. Now we're back with Thomas Balfour, who had gone back to the Crown to look for Devlin. Not finding him there, Balfour wandered around for hours until, just has he was ready to give up, he found the holy man on Revell-street. He was still with Te Rau.
- Balfour went up to them. He mentioned that he had met with Ben Löwenthal earlier, and they had been discussing Devlin—and, in particular, his interest in Emery Staines's whereabouts. Devlin resisted telling Balfour about the deed with Staines's name on it, which was the reason for his interest.
- Aware of the fact that he hadn't been terribly nice to Te Rau or Devlin earlier, Balfour was eager to make nice with them. So, he invited them for a meal, and they agreed. So, they ended up in Maxwell's, where Ben came upon them a bit later.
- Ben invited all three men to the Crown that night, including Te Rau (after hearing that he was Crosbie's best friend).
- Then we leave the men at Maxwell's and scoot over to Aubert Gascoigne's house. Apparently, Mannering went there to see about this supposed bag of gold under his bed.
- He asked Gascoigne for the money, explaining it was for Anna's debt, but Gascoigne refused to hand it over without hearing the request straight from Anna.
- However, Gascoigne did explain how that gold came to be under his bed—i.e., the story of the gold in her corset.
- Mannering was a bit confused by that tale. They had some more words after that, but then there was a knock at the door—it was Nilssen.
- Nilssen was reluctant to speak about the matter he had come to discuss in front of Mannering. Mannering asked if it was about "the widow" or "the gold," which confused Nilssen, since he thought Mannering meant the Wells fortune.
- As a result of all this confusion, even though it wasn't their original intention, Nilssen and Mannering ended up inviting Gascoigne to the council that night.
Part 1, Chapter 12
Mercury in Sagittarius (27 January 1866)
- Now we're back in the present in the Crown Hotel smoking room, where the twelve men have finished telling Moody their stories.
- Moody then tries to piece together everything he has just heard into a coherent sequential narrative in his mind.
- Eventually, the men interrupt his thoughts to ask for his feedback on what he just heard. Moody then tells a strange tale.
- It seems that he believes the strange apparition he saw aboard the Godspeed was Emery Staines. He describes hearing a noise from within a crate and opening it to find a man who suddenly started bleeding profusely from the chest—after he was out of the crate and sitting up. The man was saying "Magdalena," which the other men interpret as Anna. Moody confides that he's not entirely sure that what he saw was "natural"—that is, he seems somewhat convinced that it was a supernatural phenomenon/apparition.
- Moody had then grabbed his suitcase and gone back on deck, leaving the figure there bleeding.
- Moody's revelation sparked a lot of discussion, which was ultimately interrupted when the boy guarding the council burst into the room. He announced that the Godspeed had run aground and was wrecked.
Part 2, Chapter 1
Ecliptic (18 February 1866)
- There's not much in this chapter in the way of action—it's mostly general reflection (also, it's super short). It's been three weeks since the council and the wreck of the Godspeed.
Part 2, Chapter 2
Aries in the Third House (18 February 1866)
- We pick up with Te Rau, who is visiting Löwenthal at the West Coast Times. Apparently these two haven't seen each other since the night they all met in their council.
- Te Rau says he has been in the north.
- Ben assumes he is back for a séance Lydia Wells is holding, but this is the first Te Rau is hearing about it.
- So, Ben shows Te Rau the ad Lydia had placed announcing the event. It seems she plans to summon the spirit of Emery Staines, who is still missing. It is limited to seven attendees—and Charlie Frost and Harald Nilssen have managed to score tickets.
- There is also to be a party before the actual séance. Ben thinks that all the dudes in the town are going to be eager to go to get an audience with Anna, who's been pretty much AWOL since she started living with/working for Lydia.
- Then Te Rau tells Ben why he's there: he wants to advertise for work. He's looking to find people who want a guide.
- In addition to agreeing to run the ad, he suggests that Te Rau go down to Gibson Quay, where they have dragged the Godspeed out of the water and men are needed to unload the cargo. Ben thinks this is a really great idea, since it would give Te Rau work and make sure they had a "Crown man" on the ground for sorting through the barque's cargo. However, Te Rau refuses, and relations between the two men get pretty icy from there. Te Rau also says he doesn't want to attend the séance party.
- The chapter ends with Ben suggesting that perhaps Te Rau owed his friend Crosbie a good turn, so he should suck it up and go sort through the cargo (which could be helpful in clearing up the mysteries surrounding Crosbie's death).
Part 2, Chapter 3
Jupiter in Sagittarius (18 February 1866)
- Meanwhile, Lauderback and gotten out of Hokitika for the moment, since he didn't like seeing the Godspeed as it was getting hauled up on shore (a view he couldn't really avoid, since his window at the hotel looked out over it).
- So, at the present moment, he's in Kumara hunting with Balfour.
- It seems that a few days after the Godspeed wrecked, Balfour admitted to Lauderback that his crate (the one with the deed) was missing. Of course, Lauderback no longer really cared about the deed, since there was now no ship to get back from Carver.
- When Balfour mentions that he is about to go back to Hokitika, Lauderback tries to get him to stay—but Balfour stands firm (since he wants to get to Lydia's séance that evening).
- Relations between the two men seem to have changed. Because Balfour believes that Lauderback has held back the full story of his relationship to Carver and Wells, he doesn't feel that inclined to suck up to him anymore.
- As they keep talking, Balfour manages to get himself into a very sticky situation. He ends up tipping Lauderback off to the fact that Shepard got the money to build his jailhouse from Nilssen—which means he violated the pact of secrecy that the 13 men at the Crown had agreed upon back in January.
- Balfour then floats the possibility that the gold Carver had had sewn into ladies' dresses had somehow found its way into Crosbie's cabin, since the value of the two gold piles matched pretty well, it seems …
- After they parted ways, Lauderback went and wrote a letter to Ben for the purposes of getting it published in the West Coast Times. It asked George Shepard to identify the sources of his funding for the jailhouse. He then sent a messenger with the letter in the hopes of getting it in Monday's paper.
Part 2, Chapter 4
Mercury in Capricorn (18 February 1866)
- Walter Moody and Aubert Gascoigne (who apparently are friends now) are having lunch in Maxwell's. He receives a message saying his trunk has been retrieved from the Godspeed and sent to his room at the Crown.
- Since Emery Staines's body wasn't found, Moody concludes that his theory about seeing a spirit on the barque wasn't so far-fetched after all. Gascoigne disagrees.
- We get some of Moody's thoughts. Despite being offered a room at the Gridiron (Anna's old room, in fact), he had turned it down. It seems he was trying to stay aloof from the Crown men, sure that one of them would betray the others eventually.
- They discuss the likelihood that Staines was dead and the upcoming séance that night—and Anna's probable participation.
- They also discuss whether Mrs. Wells was aware of the gold under Gascoigne's bed. Gascoigne thinks Anna had probably not told Lydia about it.
- The two men then part so that Moody could go get a look at his trunk / see if it was damaged.
Part 2, Chapter 5
The Lesser Malefic (18 February 1866)
- Ben has received Lauderback's letter and, as is his custom, is contacting Shepard to give him the chance to respond before the letter goes to press. He assumes that Balfour is the one who spilled the beans about Nilssen's involvement in Shepard's construction.
- While he was in the middle of writing Balfour to chastise him when Frank Carver walks in.
- Ben is friendly at first—however, he's definitely out to knock Carver off balance and get some info out of him. For example, he starts out calling him Wells, since that was the alias Carver had used with him in the past. Carver corrects him irritably. Ben apologizes, but not without noting that his memory is really, really good …
- Carver explains he had come to place that ad on Wells's behalf. Ben tries to get more information, but Carver isn't forthcoming. Ben presses nonetheless, getting nowhere.
- Carver eventually tells Ben what he wants the ad to say. And then, out of the blue, he tells Ben to shut his "f—ing mouth."
- Then Ben loses his cool and starts yelling at Carver for beating Anna up and killing his own child in the process. Carver claims Anna got what she deserved. Also, he says that baby was not his.
Part 2, Chapter 6
Sun in Aquarius (18 February 1866)
- Now we're with Ah Sook, who misses Anna Wetherell a lot. He decides to head to Hokitika that afternoon and demand to see her.
- The narrative then takes us through just what Sook knew and didn't know after the council at the Crown Hotel. Because of the language barrier between him and the other men in the council, he didn't catch everything that was discussed—including the fact that Anna had changed hotels and Carver was the master of the Godspeed. He still believes Carver was likely in Guangdong, as Balfour had originally told him.
- So, he goes to the Gridiron first to look for Anna, but he is directed to the Wayfarer.
- When he knocks there, Anna answers. She is sober…and not entirely happy to see him. She tells him he can't come in, and she can't see him anymore.
- Sook is trying to get more information when Lydia appears next to Anna. Ah Sook recognizes her and is totally shocked. She recognizes him as well. Neither one of them betrays their acquaintance to Anna.
- Anna tries to get Ah Sook to leave, but then Wells insists that Sook come to the séance that night to provide an "Oriental presence."
- Anna quickly figures out that Sook and Lydia somehow know each other, especially after Sook mentions Carver to Lydia. However, she doesn't press them about it.
- Lydia takes Sook and Anna through how she plans to use Sook at the séance.
- They start discussing Emery Staines. Ah Sook is excited to hear that Staines will be there, since it means he's been found. He doesn't understand that they mean his spirit.
- They then finalize arrangements for Sook to come that night and participate in the séance (or, well, really just sit there to achieve a certain look).
- Sook goes off to find Quee, since he knows he'll be anxious to talk to Staines now that he's "back."
- Lydia exits the hotel with Sook, heading over to the Palace Hotel. Anna watches her go, reflecting that she must be visiting a very important person at that swank hotel.
Part 2, Chapter 7
Saturn in Libra (18 February 1866)
- Nilssen has received a note from Shepard demanding that he come to the Police Camp. It was marked as urgent.
- When he gets there, Shepard accuses him of having broken their agreement to keep the arrangement with the jail money private.
- Nilssen isn't sure what to say to get him out of this mess, so he ends up breaking another confidence by telling Shepard that Lydia Wells was Lauderback's mistress. As a result, he claims, Lauderback was then blackmailed, and Crosbie Wells took home the ransom (which is how it ended up in his cabin). Lauderback asks if Staines was the blackmailer, and Nilssen says "yes, maybe."
- He also tells Shepard about the deed of gift that Devlin found (and where it's located).
- As far as how Lauderback found out about Nilssen and Shepard's arrangement: Nilssen leads Shepard to believe that he told Devlin, and Devlin told Lauderback.
- Shepard then goes and gets the deed from Devlin. The two men discuss the deed and what it means. Devlin suggests that Wells was holding that fortune for Emery Staines. Devlin explains his motivations for keeping the deed private.
- Devlin asks Shepard what he makes of the deed, and Shepard concludes it was just a joke or a trick.
- Devlin leaves, and Shepard burns his contract with Nilssen for the four hundred pound investment. He then writes a letter to the paper saying that Nilssen had donated the money—and calling Lauderback out for his affair with Lydia Wells. He sends two copies—one to Ben, and the other to Nilssen.
Part 2, Chapter 8
Mars in Capricorn (18 February 1866)
- Here, Gascoigne and Carver meet while walking out and about near the water. Gascoigne approaches Carver, asking if he's the captain of the wrecked Godspeed (he's been watching them recover the ship).
- They start chatting, and Gascoigne manages to shift the conversation to the topic of insurance on wrecked sea crafts.
- Carver is suspicious of Gascoigne, but eventually warms up enough to tell Aubert that he'll be down a chunk of change for the Godspeed.
- Aubert thinks he can help, explaining that Carver might be eligible for a particular kind of funding/compensation based on a policy Lauderback likely had before selling the boat.
- As they leave each other, they finally do formal introductions.
- Meanwhile, Sook is on his way to Quee—and thinking about his past with Carver. Now we get the full details of their hatred of each other. It seems that Carver had framed his father, who owned a warehouse in Kwangchow. Carver's father's shipping firm, Dent & Co., used Sook's father's warehouse for exports.
- Carver and Sook had started off as BFFs—being about nine years younger, Sook had idolized Carver. However, Carver ended up framing Sook's father for possession of opium that was actually his, and the elder Sook was executed without a trial. Sook didn't discover his "friend's" betrayal immediately—it took him about 15+ years to catch on.
- He only discovered the betrayal after following Carver to Australia and seeing some opium packets with his family's name on them. It was only then that he realized what Carver had been doing all along.
- Oh, and it's worth mentioning that the reason he saw the opium packet was that he had gotten beaten up after trying to find Carver at a brothel, and the brothel's barmaid had taken pity on him and brought him supplies—including opium. So that's how Ah Sook got the taste for the stuff…
- Anyway, after his epiphany, Sook started planning revenge on Carver. When he tried to sneak into the brothel to kill him, though, he accidentally entered the room of the dude who had beaten him up—and the barmaid who had been helping him. Apparently his name was Jeremy Shepard, and the barmaid was his wife. In the ruckus that followed Sook's mistake. Shepard pulled a gun on Sook, and then his wife ended up shooting him.
- At the barmaid's insistence, Sook fled, but he was soon captured and put on trial for murdering Shepard. He got off, though, because Shepard's wife testified her husband had committed suicide.
- During the trial, he was surprised when Carver was led into the courtroom to testify in handcuffs. Sook took the opportunity to promise Carver that he would avenge his father's death.
- Later, he discovered that Carver had been in handcuffs because he had been discovered smuggling in breach of customs during a routine search. Carver had been sent off to Cockatoo Island for his 10-year sentence.
- Sook waited out that sentence and then wrote the jail in 1864 to find out where Carver had gone after he was released. He got some information and tried to follow up, but the search went nowhere, and eventually he gave up—until, totally by coincidence, he came across Carver talking to Te Rau in the street eight months later.
- Anyway, back in the present, Ah Sook arrives at Quee's place and tells him that Emery is going to be at Lydia's hotel that night. He admits that Lydia is the same woman he had told Quee about when he relayed the story of his relationship with Carver.
- Quee thinks it's a trap, but Sook disagrees.
- They then discuss Sook's addiction. Quee balls Sook out for being so dependent on opium.
- In the distance, there's a gunshot and a cry.
- Despite the unpleasantness of their exchange there, Quee calms down and agrees to go with Sook.
Part 2, Chapter 9
Cardinal Earth (18 February 1866)
- The narrative returns to Moody, who is just about to get to his room and open his trunk.
- When he opens the door to his room, though, he realizes he's received the wrong trunk. He actually received Lauderback's.
- He decides to go through the trunk before sending it over to Lauderback.
- He finds the bill of sale for the Godspeed, noting that Francis signed his name in a way that could be read either as "Francis Wells" or "C. Francis Wells."
- After pondering all that, Moody makes another discovery—there are some letters hidden in the lining of the lid. They are letters from Crosbie Wells to Lauderback. It seems that he was Lauderback's illegitimate brother.
- Wells wrote Lauderback a ton of letters chronicling his poverty, and then his wealth (when he struck gold), and then his poverty again when his fortune got stolen. He also mentions having married and then, later, being estranged from his wife.
- In his last letter, Crosbie suggested that Lauderback come by to see him while he was riding into Hokitika to campaign.
- So, Moody realizes that the money Carver used to blackmail Lauderback was stolen from Crosbie—and that this whole situation was the "twinkle" Carver had had on Lauderback. Also, he reflects that Lauderback thought that Carver and Wells might have been brothers as well through their mother.
- Moody is kind of floored by everything he's just read, but he knows he has to call attention to the mix-up in trunks soon in order for it not to look suspicious. So, he hides the letters back in there and rings for the maid to clear up the mistake.
Part 2, Chapter 10
A Month Without A Moon (18 February 1866)
- Mannering arrives early at Lydia Wells's house in the hopes of getting to chat with Anna, but he is disappointed—it seems that Anna won't be coming down for the party at all; she's just going to be at the séance.
- Instead, he ends up bantering with Lydia—and things are a bit, er, tense.
- He discovers that Sook and Quee are already there and wearing makeup.
- When Mannering makes a stink about Anna's absence, Lydia suggests that he leave. He refuses, pouring himself a drink.
- More people soon arrive, and we get snatches of their conversations. Pritchard reminds Frost to watch Lydia constantly, as Nilssen is apparently going to be watching Anna.
- Nilssen, meanwhile, asks Balfour if he had anything to do with Lauderback finding out about Nilssen's arrangement with Shepard. Balfour denies it.
- They talk about the letter Lauderback has written as a rebuttal, which mentions Lauderback's affair with Lydia. Nilssen admits that he was the one who told Shepard about that. However, he says he did not tell Shepard about the blackmail or the gowns.
- At the end of their chat, it seems like Nilssen may have realized that Balfour wasn't quite telling the truth about not having told Lauderback about the arrangement …
- Then we get snatches of a conversation between Te Rau and Clinch. Te Rau asks him why he had bought Crosbie's house.
- Clinch explains that he was hoping to use a claim as a cover for the gold he was going to try to get off of Anna's dresses—but the dresses had been stripped before he had had a chance.
- Löwenthal interrupts them to talk to Clinch. After saying hello to Te Rau, he pulls Edgar away to ask about how he knew the paternity of Anna's baby. Ben explains that Anna may not have been honest on that front.
- Elsewhere, Moody and Lydia Wells are introduced. They banter a bit about the notions of truth, knowing, and luck.
Part 2, Chapter 11
Venus in Aquarius (18 February 1866)
- The seven ticket holders are led into the parlor and the others depart so the séance can begin.
- Lydia explains that Anna will enter, but no one is to speak to her. She previews what is about to happen.
- Anna enters, looking very pale and painfully thin. Frost forgets his task of looking at Lydia and stares at Anna for a moment. Unfortunately, during that time, Lydia had definitely "done something," according to Frost, 'cause she was adjusting her skirts when everyone looked back. Frost makes a mental note to ask Sook and Quee if they had seen what she had done, since they probably hadn't been able to stare at Anna because of their position in the room.
- Lydia then goes into a fit and, when it's over, stares straight at Sook. Then her eyes roll back in her head and she starts saying something in Cantonese. Then she fell over onto the floor and, in the same moment, the lamp on the table fell as well, lighting the entire surface of the table on fire.
- There's a commotion while those present put the fire out, and then the men want to know what Wells had been saying. Sook announces that Lydia speaks Cantonese and tells then what she had said. Turns out, they were the same words Sook had said to Carver when he saw him in court during his trial.
- Through all this chaos, Sook finally hears that Carver is actually in town and staying at the Palace Hotel.
- Wells eventually wakes up, and those assembled explain what happened. She claims not to know Chinese.
- Sook leaves, resolving to go make some cash so he can buy a gun to kill Carver.
Part 3, Chapter 1
Mercury In Aquarius (20 March 1866)
- On this day, Moody gets up and heads downstairs for breakfast. Along the way, he listens at a particular door and assures himself that the occupant is still asleep.
- While he's reading the paper, a wedding notice for Lydia and Francis Carver catches his eye.
- Although they would be receiving cards at the Palace, Moody happened to know that Carver had actually been sleeping at the Crown.
- Then Moody heads out to dig. While he's out there, he comes across Ah Sook hiding out in a tent. He tells him that Carver is sleeping at the Crown—in a room that allows him to watch out for Sook's approach.
- He asks Sook for a bit of information about what went down between him and Carver, but Sook isn't exactly eager to share.
- Then they turn their attention back to Sook's well-known plans to shoot Carver, and Sook says he's going to do it that very evening. They discuss the weapon Sook is going to buy for the job, and Moody tries to offer some advice. He tells her to go to the outfitters on Camp-street.
- Then Sook gives Moody some digging advice.
Part 3, Chapter 2
Sun in Pisces (20 March 1866)
- We start out getting some updates on Lydia and Anna. Then, we meet up with Cowell Devlin as he's about to go visit Anna. He has waited until he knew Lydia would be out.
- He introduces himself and explains he has something important to discuss with her. Although she's forbidden to have visitors when Lydia isn't around, she invites him in.
- They discuss her thinness and her sudden independence from her opium addiction. As with Sook, Anna claims it just kind of happened.
- Devlin then comes out with the reason for his visit: the half-burned deed. At first, Anna is simply distracted by the fact that she can read it—since she doesn't actually know how to read.
- Cowell explains how he came to find the paper and asks that Anna tell him everything she knows, since she seems to be at the heart of basically every mystery and crime in the book.
- After chatting some more about the deed and what it means, Anna asks Devlin to go pour the tea and give her some time alone. Once he leaves, Anna goes and signs Emery's name to the deed. She has never seen his signature before, but she is sure she has written it perfectly …
- When Devlin comes back, he is furious. Anna maintains that it is Emery's genuine signature, and the deed is good.
- She grabs the deed and hides it in her dress, claiming that she'll cry out if Devlin gets to close to her. He agrees to leave, but first he asks if she knew that the dresses containing the gold had come from Lydia Wells. She admits that she suspected, and she tells him all she knows about the gold in her dresses (and how she knew). She also mentions that she never told Lydia about the gold in her gowns.
- She then tells Devlin that Staines is not dead—and she knows because she's been getting messages from him. In her head.
- As they're talking, Lydia returns.
Part 3, Chapter 3
Saturn in Virgo (20 March 1866)
- This chapter begins with Shepard getting the news from Mr. Everard that Sook (whom he had had watched) had bought a gun. He orders Everard to spread the word that if anyone sees Sook, they are to call Shepard.
- He also asks Everard to alert Carver to the news of Sook's purchase.
- Meanwhile, it seems that since Staines had been missing for eight weeks, the Magistrate decided that his claims and mines were to be surrendered to the Crown.
- Quee has been given a new claim as a result. He is exiting the Company office with his new indenture papers when some men mistake him for Johnny Sook and assault him.
- Manning interrupts the assault, telling them they have the wrong dude.
- Quee thanks Mannering for helping. Then they discuss Sook's whereabouts.
- Mannering discovers that Quee has been assigned to his claim the Dream of England. Mannering assures Quee it's not a duffer.
Part 3, Chapter 4
Venus in Pisces (20 March 1866)
- Now we're back in the Wayfarer, with Lydia interrupting Devlin and Anna.
- Anna goes to get the tea, and Devlin asks Lydia if Anna can read. She says she doesn't think so.
- Their chitchat gets a bit pointed and heated from there, and Devlin implies that Lydia isn't really being all that good toward Anna.
- Lydia, in response, gets Anna to admit in front of Devlin that she had sex with Lydia's husband—and that the child she had been carrying was Crosbie's. That is why Lydia had sent her away. She then prompts Anna to tell Devlin how sorry Lydia was about her behavior.
- After that, Lydia asks for the true reason for Devlin's visit (he had said they were having a theological discussion, but she knew that was hooey).
- Anna tells Lydia about the document Devlin brought. She refuses to produce it for Lydia to look at.
- Then, Lydia asks for the full truth about the document, and Devlin refuses to provide it—but he does let drop that it has something to do with the blackmailing of Lauderback, which makes Lydia turn pretty pale …
- Then Devlin offers to escort Anna to the courthouse to get legal counsel about her document.
Part 3, Chapter 5
Jupiter in Capricorn (20 March 1866)
- Now we're at the Hokitika Courthouse, where Lydia Wells's appeal to have the sale of her hubby's estate revoked was recently approved—which is why Wells had just been at the courthouse prior to meeting with Devlin and Anna.
- Gascoigne is there dealing with various matters, including a letter and some documents from the Garrity Group regarding a claim Carver filed for the Godspeed. In looking over Carver's letter asking for repair money, Gascoigne silently commends Carver for his ambiguous way of signing his name that makes it appear (possibly) like there's a C in front of it.
- Then Lauderback shows up to try to contest the disbursement of funds to Carver, claiming that Carver committed fraud when he bought the boat from Lauderback.
- They go back and forth about Carver's behavior and talk about his history.
- Gascoigne wishes Lauderback luck, but he doesn't seem at all sure the attempt to block the money will go off. And he has to go bring the paperwork from Garrity to the bank.
- Now Anna and Devlin are at the Garrick's Head Hotel having a bit to eat/drink.
- Devlin gets right to it and asks Anna where Staines is. She says she doesn't know—she just has a feeling that he's alive and somewhere inland. She says she's been having these feelings since her blackout.
- As a result of these claims, Devlin starts thinking that Anna is out of her mind.
- As they get up from their meal, Devlin says he'll escort her to the courthouse but not inside, and he refuses to lie for her about the forged signature on the deed, if he's asked. She thanks him for the food—and for telling off Lydia Wells.
- Then Anna enters the courthouse and sits down with a man named Fellowes to talk about the deed. She claims she received it anonymously that morning.
- Fellowes tells her that Staines's claims have been surrendered. Anna then mentions the 2,000 pounds that belong to Staines from the money found in Wells's cottage.
- Fellowes wants to know if she has proof that that money belongs to Staines, she tells him the gold was found retorted with the Aurora's name on it.
- Fellowes agrees to be her lawyer and help her figure this out—as long as she pays the retainer up front. She says she can't, but she'll pay him 200 pounds in cash if he clears the funds she believes are owed to her within two weeks.
- He says he'll go to the Reserve Bank to check out her story about retortion, and if it checks out they will draw up a contract—and if not, he won't help her. His attitude gets pretty chilly once he remembers who she is (i.e., that she had previously been a prostitute).
Part 3, Chapter 6
Moon in Aries, Crescent (20 March 1866)
- Now we're with Te Rau, who is walking through the Arahura River. When ends up near Crosbie Wells's cabin, he soon realizes that someone is inside. Upon entering the cabin, he finds Emery Staines.
- Staines seems a little discombobulated. He claims he had buried something. Also, he thinks he's been missing for only three days.
- Then Te Rau sees the nasty wound in Staines's shoulder and realizes he needs medical attention.
- Staines keeps talking about gold that he's buried on Maori land. When Te Rau asks where he's been, Staines says he's been looking for his bonanza.
- Staines seems a little loopy and rambly, but Te Rau tries to keep his eyes on the prize and focus on getting Staines medical attention. He decides to go get some medicine/alert Dr. Gillies and get back to Staines as soon as possible.
Part 3, Chapter 7
Mars in Aquarius (20 March 1866)
- Now we join up with Ah Sook, who is in hiding. He is aware that people will really be after him now that he has bought a gun to kill Carver.
- He's having a hard time staying under the radar, so he heads to an unlikely place—Shepard's house. Ya know, the house of the guy who has a warrant out for him.
- Margaret, his old friend and savior from back in Sydney, answers the door. She agrees to hide him, despite her reservations.
- While he's hiding, he hears Carver come to visit. They discuss the fact that Ah Sook is after him. Carver alludes to Margaret's history with Ah Sook and the fact that she saved him back in Sydney…something that George isn't likely to have forgiven (you see, he was Jeremy's brother, as we find out a bit later). Carver says George wants his own revenge…hmm, interesting …
- Ah Sook had started to sneak up on Carver while this chat was going on, but Carver left before he could bring it off. However, Margaret finds him poised (i.e., out of his hiding place under the bed) and yells at him for putting her in such a tough spot.
- She then resolves to get Sook dressed up like an English gentleman so he can go out in public without getting immediately apprehended …
Part 3, Chapter 8
Nga Potiki A Rehua / The Children of Antares (20 March 1866)
- Meanwhile, Te Rau has fetched Pritchard and is taking him back to Crosbie's house.
- At the same time, Charlie Frost is answering Fellowes's questions about the fortune found at Crosbie's estate. He confirms what Anna told him about it being smelted.
- Then Frost sees the deed and notices it has been signed in Staines's hand since he last saw it, which suggests to the lawyer that Staines is definitely alive.
- Then, Löwenthal goes to Pritchard's store to get some liver pills, and finds out from the assistant Giles that Pritchard went off with a Maori gentleman who came asking for medicine for someone else. He had apparently been muttering something about "the whore's bullet."
- Elsewhere, Anna has gone to chill out at the Gridiron until she returns to the courthouse to talk to Fellowes at the appointed time. She fills Edgar Clinch in on her plans to contest Lydia's claims to Crosbie's money.
- Now we're back to Löwenthal, who is on his way back to his office when Mannering calls out for him in the street. He tells Löwenthal about the warrant against Ah Sook.
- Löwenthal says in return that he has news of his own—about Staines.
- At roughly the same time, Quee gets a visit. The man claims Quee is being summoned to the courthouse to discuss the fortune he dug up.
- Now we're back with Fellowes, who is heading over to Harald Nilssen's office. When he gets there, he shows Nilssen Anna's burnt contract.
- Nilssen kind of hems and haws when he's asked if he's seen it before, but he can (and does) honestly say that that document was not among the possessions he found when he was commissioned to clear the Wells estate.
- Back with Staines, Pritchard and Te Rau have arrived and are about to give him opium. Staines mentions that he never heard the shot that created the wound, since he was "in the coffin at the time." Um, okay …
- They note that he's not really that thin, which seems impossible—something or someone appears to have been feeding him. Hmm …
- They then give him the opium to put him out.
- Meanwhile, Lauderback has just left the courthouse and is heading to Balfour's house to lament that Carver's bill of sale is going to stand.
- Balfour suggests going to talk to the Commissioner or the Magistrate—or Shepard. Lauderback scoffs at the last suggestion, given their recent feud. Balfour objects that Shepard has history with Carver, and Lauderback responds that this is the first he's hearing of it.
- Back at the courthouse, Anna is returning. She greets Gascoigne quickly before going in to talk to Fellowes privately. However, she passes out suddenly for mysterious reasons. There is a powerful smell of opium in the room, but no evidence that she took the drug. Hmmm …
- Now we're at Shepard's house, where Lauderback arrives to try to get a word with George. She sends him away, since George isn't there. Sook listens from his hiding place.
- Back at the jailhouse, Devlin is making room for Anna Wetherell, who was being incarcerated.
- While he and Gascoigne are talking, Pritchard comes in with Staines and explains where he was found.
- Gascoigne asks them not to take Staines to the hospital, as he doubts Staines would last there.
- They help Staines down from the trap and tell him Anna is inside. He says he wants to see her.
- Devlin says to bring him inside until the doctor can get there, since it's what he wants.
Part 3, Chapter 9
The Greater Malefic (20 March 1866)
- Outside the Crown Hotel, Ah Sook is hiding and waiting to make his move. He's listening to Lydia and Carver talking. They're chatting about Moody and whether he might be Adrian Moody's son—since apparently they know Adrian.
- Carver goes into the next room by himself, and Sook is planning to take him then.
- However, as he starts to make his move, George Shepard intercepts him—apparently, Margaret had tipped him off. He tells Sook to drop his weapon or else he'll kill him.
- They discuss George's brother Jeremy—that is, Margaret's previous husband. Sook reiterates that he didn't kill him, but it's clear George doesn't believe him.
- Back inside the Crown, Lydia and Carver have just heard a loud noise that sounds like a gunshot. Carver thinks it might have been someone cleaning a gun.
- She's worried about Ah Sook, but Carver claims he's not.
- Then they go back to talking about Moody, who had claimed to be on the Godspeed the night she wrecked (and yet, wasn't on the passenger list), and Carver is thinking about writing to Adrian.
Part 3, Chapter 10
Equinox (20 March 1866)
- George Shepard is taking Ah Sook's body to the Police Camp—yup, it seems he killed him. Devin shows up and asks what happened.
- When Margaret realizes that Sook is dead, she's very upset. George pats her on the back for her loyalty to him, though. She runs out of the room.
- George then asks Devlin to have a drink with him and explains his backstory with Sook. He justifies his behavior, seeming to claim he didn't do it out of revenge. Right…
- Back at the jailhouse, the bullet has been extracted from Staines's shoulder, and he is in and out of consciousness. He refuses to leave Anna, and so they handcuff him like the other prisoners to prevent the other "residents" from getting grouchy.
- Devlin watches Anna and Staines sleep together and knows that they are lovers from the way they are sleeping.
Part 4, Chapter 1
First Point of Aries (27 April 1865)
- Just some warning: This section toggles back between the same date in 1865 and 1866. This chapter is set back in 1865, when Anna arrived in New Zealand.
- As Anna stood on the deck of the boat as it arrived in New Zealand, she struck up a conversation with a young dude who was also out there watching the albatrosses fly around. They immediately seemed to hit it off. Hmm …
Part 4, Chapter 2
Mercury in Pisces: Saturn Conjunct Moon (27 April 1866)
- Now we appear to be in 1866, where/when Emery Staines is being held on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and dereliction. He could have bailed himself out, but he opted to stay with Anna to await trial.
- Apparently Anna has been on the mend since she was reunited with Emery, fattening up nicely and regaining her color.
- Staines was also getting a lot better. Strangely, he can't account for how he got hooked on opium, but he remains addicted. He and Anna are both on a dose of it but getting progressively weaned off.
- We then get other news about what has been happening in Hokitika lately, including deets on Lauderback's election (he won) and the jailhouse (which opened). Carver and Lydia have been officially married.
- We also get Emery's account of what he remembers from when he was missing. It seems he doesn't remember too much—and what he does remember (like the gold in Anna's dresses) doesn't make sense—how would he know about that?
- Staines claims to have a nest egg buried in the Arahura Valley that he needs to go get …
- Moody has been engaged as Emery and Anna's lawyer (Fellowes had declined to represent her).
- It seems Anna is being charged with grievous assault, since the bullet in Emery's shoulder came from Anna's gun.
- This chapter is set on the day of the trial. When everyone is piled into the courthouse and Justice Kemp gets the party started, the lawyers start making their cases.
- Anna's case is to be heard in the morning, and Emery's in the afternoon. When Anna's case is called, she pleads not guilty.
- We hear testimony from a bunch of the characters, including Anna's explanations for some of the strange phenomena that have occurred since January.
Part 4, Chapter 3
Venus Is A Morning Star (27 April 1865)
- Now we're back in 1865, with Anna getting off the boat at Port Chalmers.
- After she disembarked, a woman approached her wondering if she had seen a girl named Elizabeth Mackay. Anna said there had been no young women on her boat.
- It turns out the woman was Lydia Wells, and when she had determined Elizabeth Mackay wasn't coming, she offered Anna Elizabeth's room at her boarding house. It seems Elizabeth had already pre-paid her room, and since she wasn't going to use it, Lydia thought she'd help Anna out. Right …
- Anna agreed to the proposition, and the two women headed off to Lydia's "boarding house."
Part 4, Chapter 4
Exalted in Aries (27 April 1866)
- Back in 1866, Emery Staines is testifying. He pleads guilty to all charges.
- He testifies about the gold and what happened when he was missing. He claims that he went missing because he was on opium and spent most of his time in Ah Sook's opium den (however, we already know that's not true, since Sook had been overjoyed to hear Staines would be "attending" the séance—so, yeah, he hadn't seen the guy in a while).
- After trying the drug for the first time in Anna's room on the night of January 14th, he claims he went off to Ah Sook's to get more, and that's where he had been holed up.
- He claims he ended up back in Anna's rooms one day when Ah Sook had left the den with all his opium, and Staines wanted to find more. When he got to Anna's, he ended up hiding behind the curtain when he heard people approaching, and then he was accidentally shot during a gun tussle that happened there on that day (remember that from Part I?).
- He also discusses the day Anna was beaten and mentions that he was the one who told Crosbie that his baby had been killed. On that day (October 11th of the previous year), they made out that deed leaving half of Staines's fortune to Anna.
- The court then hears testimony from an assortment of other people, including Lydia and Francis Carver.
- Then we get Balfour's testimony, in which he explains (finally) how Lauderback's crate got lost, a story that brings a lot of Carver's bad behavior to light.
- The Lauderback testifies and provides proof of Crosbie's handwriting that does not match the paperwork on file that Carver (as Crosbie) signed.
- Naturally, with all these revelations, the courtroom goes a little nuts …
Part 4, Chapter 5
The House of Many Wishes (27 April 1865)
- Meanwhile, back in 1865, Anna got settled in at Wells's hotel. Lydia left soon after installing her there, and then Crosbie showed up.
- Crosbie clued Anna into the fact that she'd been duped, and implored her to come sit next to him, have a drink, and hear what he had to say about Lydia …
Part 4, Chapter 6
Crux (27 April 1866)
- And we're back in 1866 (aka the present) again. Te Rau is outside the courthouse chatting up the duty sergeant (Drake).
- Suddenly, the bailiff comes out and announces that the Justice wants Carver transported back to Seaview right now.
- Drake asks if Te Rau wants to come along on the ride, since he's coming right back to hear the verdict. Te Rau stares at the latch on the carriage door and…declines. Hmm, wonder what that's about?
- Back in the courtroom, Emery Staines is sentenced to nine months of hard labor. Anna is acquitted.
- Suddenly, there's a crash outside, and Drake comes rushing into the courthouse. He announces that Carver is dead—somehow, someone got into the carriage between the courthouse and Seaview and bashed his head in. There's a commotion in the wake of this news, naturally.
Part 4, Chapter 7
Combust (27 April 1865)
- We're back in 1865. On that day, while Anna was entertaining Crosbie (without realizing Crosbie was Lydia's hubs), Lydia was at the Hawthorn Hotel doing a natal chart for a boy named "Edward."
- Carver then arrived, and she had Edward go fetch a pie for her so she could talk to Francis alone. They discussed Lauderback and the fact that he'd clearly gotten the news that certain shipments had been made under his name. He was coming to Dunedin on May 12th. They formulated a plan to get Lauderback alone when he arrived.
- They also discussed Crosbie.
- Lydia left, and then Edward and Carver chatted for a bit. Edward admitted he had given a false name for getting the fortune—his name was actually Emery Staines.
Part 4, Chapter 8
Mercury Sets (27 April 1866)
- Back in 1866, Adrian Moody, Walter's father, has arrived in Hokitika. He goes to the post office to inquire after his son, and from the note he tries to forward to Water, we learn that he is repentant for his past mistakes. We also get some more information/backstory on why he left England and abandoned his wife. The end result is that he doesn't look quite as much like the villain we had supposed him to be.
- Elsewhere, Emery and Charlie Frost are sitting down to go over expenses and settle all the financials after the Justice's ruling. They arrange to make sure that Anna is financially solvent while Staines is doing his time and deal with other sundry matters.
- Elsewhere, Walter Moody is heading out on a long digging trip, giving up his room at the Crown and leaving his trunk at a warehouse in his absence.
- He meets a man named Paddy Ryan along the way who is headed in the same direction. They agree to walk together and tell each other their stories. And there you have the end of the narrative proper…But there are still 8 more sections and 100+ pages to go?
Part 4, Chapter 9
Sun & Moon in Conjunction (New Moon) (27 April 1865)
- And you guessed it—we're back in 1865.
- Lydia Wells returned to the House of Many Wishes and learned that Crosbie had come back from the Otago highlands…and had been hanging out with Anna all afternoon. He had left, promising to return in the morning.
- Lydia told the maid that if she was not in when Crosbie called the next day, she was to show him to Anna's room.
- Lydia then went to talk to Anna. Anna seemed embarrassed about something…
- While they were talking, she asked Anna her birthday so she could do her chart. She learned that Anna had the same birthday and birth year as the boy "Edward" (i.e., Emery) she had just met. Lydia said that meant the two shared a destiny and were "astral soul-mates."
- In this discussion, Lydia dropped that she was "Mrs. Crosbie Wells." Anna was shocked and seemingly upset. Hmm, we wonder what she got up to with Crosbie that afternoon …
Part 5, Chapter 1
Silver (12 May 1865)
- Still back in 1865 (and FYI, the rest of the book continues in flashback), Crosbie Wells was still in Dunedin at the House of Many Wishes. Apparently, Anna was being groomed for "going to market," as Crosbie so crudely put it. Lydia denied that this was her plan.
- That evening, the House of Many Wishes was to host a party for naval officers and other maritime-types. In preparation, Lydia had Anna making wreathes out of rope to use as centerpieces.
- While they were working, Crosbie asked to see the paper. Lydia said she had already burned it.
- Crosbie got suspicious, but he let it go for the moment. Then he wanted to get into the safe.
- Lydia resisted giving him the key, trying to put him off, but he didn't drop it this time. He ended up ripping the key to the safe off her necklace when she tried to lie and say she didn't have it.
- When he got into the safe, he found it was empty—the gold from his big strike and some other important stuff (like his miner's right and birth certificate) were gone. A scene ensued …
- He then ordered the maid to go down and pick up the paper …
Part 5, Chapter 2
Gold (12 May 1865)
- Now we pick up with Emery Staines, who apparently had gone on a tear with Francis Carver after his reading with Lydia. The evening had resulted in him going into a decent amount of debt.
- "Luckily," Carver was there the next morning to offer him sponsorship. Staines quickly realized that Carver had played him by helping to drive him into debt that night and then coming to the "rescue," but he accepted Carver's terms—which demanded that Carver get half-shares of Staines's first claim.
- We then get some backstory about Emery and details about his family/personality.
- On the day this chapter is set, Emery and Carver were having breakfast at the Hawthorn. Emery was set to leave the next day for Hokitika.
- While they were breakfasting, Carver got a message about something. Afterwards, he asked Emery to watch a trunk for a couple of hours. Staines could see on the lid that the crate belonged to a man named Alistair Lauderback.
- Staines wanted to know what was in it, but Carver wouldn't tell. He gave Emery a pistol to help him guard it.
- Before he left, he also told Emery that his name was Francis Wells, just for that day.
- When Carver left, Staines jimmied the lock on the trunk and opened it.
Part 5, Chapter 3
Copper (12 May 1865)
- Meanwhile, back at the House of Many Wishes, Crosbie was confronting Lydia about what he had just read in the paper: His brother, Alistair Lauderback, was in town.
- Lydia assured Crosbie that his fortune was safe at the Reserve…but somehow, he didn't believe her.
- While they were talking, a package arrived from the chemist. Lydia claimed it was hair tonic. However, when Anna got it to Lydia's bedroom, she checked under the wrapping and saw that it was laudanum.
Part 5, Chapter 4
Wu Xing (12 May 1865)
- Now we're back with Staines, who had just found the dresses in the trunk he was guarding.
- He was still puzzling over what Carver was doing with a bunch of dresses when there was a knock at the door. It was Ah Sook looking for Carver.
- Per Carver's instructions, Staines said that there was no Carver staying there.
Part 5, Chapter 5
Iron (12 May 1865)
- Back at Casa di Wells, things were pretty tense. At around four in the afternoon, there was a knock at the door—and Wells answered.
- It was Ah Sook looing for Carver. It seems the harbormaster had told him to look for the sailor there. Crosbie told him Carver didn't live there.
- Wells then asked Anna if she knew Carver or someone who had done time at Cockatoo. She said no.
- At the end of the chapter, it seems that Wells was beginning to put together the pieces of the puzzle that Carver and Lydia had created—and he vowed to meet Carver that night.
Part 5, Chapter 6
Tin (12 May 1865)
- We get a snatch of the meeting that Carver and Lauderback had that day, which we've already heard about in more detail previously.
Part 5, Chapter 7
Tar (12 May 1865)
- After blackmailing Lauderback successfully, Carver headed over to Lydia's house to tell her the good news.
- She then informed Carver that, in a stroke of "luck," Crosbie had taken up with Anna. This meant she could get them easily out of the way that evening, as she had sent up a decanter of liquor to them that was laced (ostensibly with laudanum).
- Francis said he was going to go up. It seems he planned to spirit the presumably drugged out Crosbie away from there and "tap him on the head."
- He snuck upstairs and tried to do just that, but when he entered, Crosbie (who wasn't drugged) bashed him over the head.
- He asked Carver who he was, and Carver said he was Crosbie Wells. When Crosbie asked where his gold was, Carver explained that "Crosbie" himself had shipped it offshore.
- Crosbie then knocked him out cold and used a knife to carve a long C-shaped wound into his face.
- He then told Anna to drink up from the decanter so she could claim she had slept through the whole thing. She went and got a gold nugget he had given her when they first met—to help her get away from Lydia—and gave it to him to help him get away.
Part 5, Chapter 8
Makeweights (12 May 1865)
- Crosbie then went down to the docs to talk to a guy named Bill, whom he apparently already knew. He told him he was in a pickle—he needed to get away, but his papers and most of his money had been stolen.
- Bill told him there was a schooner called the Blanche leaving for Hokitika the next day. However, he then noticed that there was an inventory that was supposedly authorized by Crosbie—and it was headed to Melbourne. Naturally, Crosbie had no idea about the shipment, since this was the trunk Carver had sent using his name.
- Crosbie explained that the inventory was filed falsely under his name and suggested just having the trunk sent to Hokitika—that way, it wouldn't be going offshore and therefore wouldn't be evading duty, since that was evidently Carver's intent. And after all, it was In Crosbie's name, so shouldn't he be able to alter the destination?
- It turned out that Crosbie and the crate could not travel by the same boat (which, it seems, is how that crate got lost).
Part 6, Chapter 1
Fixed Earth (18 June 1865)
- As of June 1865, Staines still hadn't made a big strike—however, he was doing okay with the digging in Hokitika.
- On the day in question, he was walking near the harbor. He saw a ship pulling in and took notice of a certain girl on board.
- A man stopped him and asked him to do a favor for him. He explained that his miner's right, birth certificate, and fortune had been stolen…and all he had left was this lousy gold nugget. He couldn't cash it in, though, without proper ID. So, he was asking if Staines would take it in and cash it for him, since he wanted to go buy some land.
- When Crosbie told Staines his name, Staines remembered when Carver had him lie about his last name. He asked Crosbie if he knew Carver and then explained why he was asking and how he knew Carver
- Crosbie confirmed that Carver was the one who stole his fortune. Emery agreed to go cash the nugget for him.
Part 6, Chapter 2
Mars in Cancer (18 June 1865)
- Aboard the Godspeed, Anna was pulling into Hokitika—it seems Emery was probably staring at her from the shore.
- We then get some background on what happened with Francis and Anna after Crosbie departed, and how Anna's journey to Hokitika came about—it seems Lydia had kicked her out when her pregnancy started showing.
- When she disembarked from the ship, Carver told her she would be lodging at the Gridiron.
Part 6, Chapter 3
Te-Ra-O-Tainui (18 June 1865)
- As promised, Staines banked the nugget for Crosbie and gave him the money (about 100 pounds).
- The men parted on good terms, with Crosbie saying Staines should come by at any time. Staines promised not to tell anyone about Crosbie/his whereabouts/the gold. Crosbie then left for the land agent's office, and Staines remained on the steps of the Reserve Bank.
- A bit later, while Staines was still sitting there, a bellman came up shouting that the Titania had shipwrecked.
- Then, he saw Wells and another man exit the land office and get into a carriage.
Part 6, Chapter 4
Accidental Dignity (18 June 1865)
- While Edgar was escorting Anna back to the Gridiron, they ran into Emery Staines, and he and Anna recognized each other from the day they had both arrived in Dunedin and were scoping out the albatrosses.
- He learned Anna's name, which he had recently heard from Crosbie Wells in association with that man's sad story …
- Edgar was not pleased at sharing his new guest and pulled Anna away.
Part 6, Chapter 5
Aries, Ruled By Mars (18 June 1865)
- Now we are with Carver talking to Te Rau. This was their initial meeting (already mentioned in the book), during which Carver asked Te Rau for information about Wells. However, Te Rau hadn't met him yet.
- During the encounter, Te Rau showed him his stone club. He mimicked attacking Carver with it…
Part 6, Chapter 6
Sun in Gemini (18 June 1865)
- Meanwhile, in Ben Löwenthal's office, Ben had just found the "widow" in the text Carver had submitted. Yup, we're still kindasorta covering territory we've already heard about elsewhere.
- Emery was present at the time.
- Löwenthal then switched gears and asked Emery why he had come into the office. Staines explained he was interested in finding an investment.
- Scanning Ben's list of stuff on offer, he found the Gridiron Hotel, where he knew Anna was staying. He decided to buy it immediately.
Part 6, Chapter 7
Scorpio, Ruled By Mars (18 June 1865)
- Carver was lamenting that the notice he placed in the West Coast Times that morning would probably come to nothing. He was afraid the shipment was lost forever, so he was drinking away his cares at the Imperial Hotel.
- When he banged down his glass in frustration, another man struck up a conversation. Turns out it was Pritchard.
- Pritchard mentioned that he was a chemist, and then Carver got curious about his opium supplies. Pritchard apologetically said he didn't have any, and Carver clarified that he wasn't looking to buy…
Part 7, Chapter 1
Cancer & the Moon (28 July 1865)
- Anna and Clinch argued about her opium use.
Part 7, Chapter 2
The Leo Sun (28 July 1865)
- Mannering and Staines talked about the nugget that Staines "found" and cashed in. Mannering wondered why Staines hadn't made bigger uses out of all the moola he got from that sale.
- Staines kind of let on that Mannering didn't have the full story.
Part 7, Chapter 3
Aquarius & Saturn (28 July 1865)
- In this chapter, George Shepard saw Sook again for the first time since Sook's murder trial. It was obvious to everyone present that Shepard was carrying a grudge.
- You know what else he was carrying? A gun, which he reached for upon seeing Sook …
Part 7, Chapter 4
Jupiter's Long Reign (28 July 1865)
- We find out that Lauderback had become more inclined to run for the Westland seat when he learned that Crosbie was living there.
- Having believed that Crosbie was also Carver's brother (and complicit in the blackmail plot through which Carver had taken over the Godspeed), Lauderback was surprised to get a letter from Crosbie that basically proved Crosbie had had no idea about the plot.
Part 7, Chapter 5
Inherent Dignity (28 July 1865)
- Staines was with Anna and said he had something "impertinent" to ask her. That made her nervous and sad for some reason.
- Staines then asked about Wells, much to her surprise. He explained (without violating Crosbie's confidence) a bit about why he thought Anna and Carver might be acquainted. He wanted to hear the whole story of the robbery Crosbie claimed happened.
- Anna asked if Crosbie was in Hokitika, and Staines said he couldn't say. While rubbing her tummy, Anna said that was fine, but she had a message for him …
- The blurb that introduces the section indicates that she then told him the whole story of her acquaintance with Wells, Carver, and Lydia.
Part 7, Chapter 6
The Ascendant (28 July 1865)
- Wells and Te Rau were talking about tattoos—and whether they had ever killed a man.
Part 8, Chapter 1
Saturn in Virgo (22 August 1865)
- Quee went to George Shepard and tried to file a complaint against Mannering for salting the Aurora, but the language barrier (to say nothing of Shepard's impatience/racism against the Chinese) got in the way.
Part 8, Chapter 2
Jupiter in Sagittarius (22 August 1865)
- Lauderback wrote Balfour asking him to make arrangements for him in Hokitika in anticipation of running for the Westland seat.
- The prefacing blurb notes that Lauderback had intended to visit Crosbie on the way.
Part 8, Chapter 3
Moon in Leo, New (22 August 1865)
- Mannering and Anna were driving to Kaniere.
- On the way, Mannering lectured Anna on her "misery." He also assured her he would protect her from getting murdered. Our hero.
Part 8, Chapter 4
Sun in Leo (22 August 1865)
- Mannering clued Staines into the fact that the Aurora was a duffer that he'd been salting. They talked about screwing Carver over.
Part 8, Chapter 5
Another Kind of Dawn (22 August 1865)
- Quee realized that Anna had gold in her gown and gave it a thorough check while she was stoned.
Part 9, Chapter 1
Moon in Virgo, Crescent (20 September 1865)
- Anna woke up at Quee's. According to the preface, he was working on smelting the last of the gold dust from Anna's gowns. She realized she had probably been talking in her sleep.
Part 9, Chapter 2
Sun in Virgo (20 September 1865)
- Staines went to the camp station and was surprised to find the Aurora's box flagged. When the gold escort unlocked it, he found the gold bars Quee had put there.
- He then asked the escort how much money he would require to look the other way while Staines put the gold somewhere else …
Part 9, Chapter 3
A Partial Eclipse of the Sun (20 September 1865)
- Staines went to the Arahura Valley to bury the treasure on Maori land.
Part 9, Chapter 4
Papa-Tu-A-Nuku (20 September 1865)
- Crosbie and Te Rau shared a meal. Te Rau got mad when Crosbie suggested that his precious greenstone was the same as gold.
Part 10, Chapter 1
Detriment (11 October 1865)
- Anna ran into Carver and, apparently in an opium haze, admitted (with a smile) that she had helped Crosbie get away.
- Nearby, there was a gunshot, and the horse Carver had been riding got spooked and reared up…That, we have to assume, is the true story of how Anna got injured and lost her baby.
Part 10, Chapter 2
Fall (11 October 1865)
- Anna was getting medical care after the accident with the horse.
- To protect Crosbie, Anna told Clinch and Löwenthal that Carver was the father.
Part 10, Chapter 3
The Descendant (11 October 1865)
- Emery Staines went to Crosbie to tell him the baby had been lost.
- Crosbie got them both some brandy.
- Staines then resolved to share half of his hidden fortune with Anna. They drew up the infamous contract. However, before Staines could sign, he fell asleep.
Part 11, Chapter 1
Moon in Taurus (Orion's Reach) (3 December 1965)
- Staines came to visit Anna, bringing her a bottle of Andalusian brandy. She had developed quite a crush on him.
- Also, her debt to Mannering had doubled in the past month.
Part 11, Chapter 2
Sun in Scorpio (3 December 1865)
- Staines considered what to do about his full-blown lovey feelings for Anna. He considered buying her for the night and then telling her about the fortune he was going to give to her.
Part 12, Chapter 1
The Luminaries (14 January 1866)
- It seems that Staines did "purchase her." The preface notes the litany of things that happened with other characters on that same evening.
- In the actual chapter, we find Emery and Anna in bed together, listening to the rain.