Edith Clark lives in southwestern Australia with her mother and older sister, Frances. They are in possession of the dwindling farmland that the girls’ father was never able to make successful, despite his best intentions. Life is fairly bleak, but Edith and Frances have never known anything different.
Then their cousin Leopold and his Armenian friend Aram arrive for an unexpected visit, dazzling them with tales of adventure, including that of Gilgamesh, whose legendary search for the secret of immortality holds special significance to the men. Together with accounts of their own travels, they offer Edith a tantalizing glimpse of what the wider world holds.
After the visitors leave, Edith discovers she is pregnant with Aram’s child. In her daydreams, Armenia, Aram’s ancestral home, is a paradise of sorts. With this naive assumption, she determines to go there with her baby. Europe, however, is on the brink of war and Edith is headed in the wrong direction at exactly the wrong time.
Author Joan London divides this novel into six chapters, consisting of short, step-like segments, representing each stage of the journey. She researched details such as travel routes, passports, timetables, etc., in pursuit of historical accuracy. The result is an absorbing tale of one woman’s epic odyssey.