Perched above the Indian Ocean and surrounded by lush foliage that blocks out everything but the sea--sweet frangipani, jasmine, and wild orchid--the Hotel Salama is an unlikely place to conduct research. Proud, sharp-tongued, and solitary by disposition, Ingrid Holtz arrives at the hotel in search of her professor, Nick Templeton, to whom she is drawn by interests of a more than academic nature. Templeton is a maverick, as much reviled for his unconventional methods as he is envied for his results. His latest theory has driven him to the island of Pelat, to unravel a legend about an ancient African king said to have brought Islam to the Swahili coast. No one has heard from him in months.
Tangled in a mystery whose clues lurk in the pages of the Koran, and transported into a world where women are possessed by spirit husbands and fresh curses are whispered over tea, Ingrid is forced to realize that there are many things she does not know about this man who inhabits her dreams and haunts her mind. With the help and hindrance of Finn Bergmann, the enigmatic son of the founder of Salama, she begins to uncover a web of alarming incidents. Templeton's research has carried him to the hot core of the island's darkest confrontation. How far will he go in his passion for the truth? What is he willing to do to protect his newfound faith--and where has he gone? Ingrid embarks on a quest that opens her heart and threatens to unravel her mind.
An epic tale of love and faith, An Obvious Enchantment marks the debut of a stunning new literary talent. It is a story about desire--for love, for knowledge, and for God--and about our capacity to ensnare ourselves in the deceptive architecture of our own dreams. Like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it plunges you from the first page into a sensuous world of seductive characters and duplicitous charm, a world alive with color and atmosphere from which it is hard to emerge without wanting to return.