Before history there were infinite possibilities. The year was 1989 - the year everything unexpected happened: the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the massacre at Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was the beginning of the end of an era, but Professor Hamilton West had the notion it was the end of much more - the end of history itself. So Hamilton, who finds himself on sabbatical after getting into trouble with his dean, and Andy, a 75-year-old communist, take off for Asia in a desperate search for "anything new." Their adventure includes a team of travelling misfits: Hamilton's new lover; a former All American tackle; and a Brahman elder, along with his young, delectable Californian wife. All the while, Hamilton is determined to keep his promise to his cousin Jud and rewrite the history of their common relatives, the Benjamin family. Locked away in hotel rooms with a Zenith 286 laptop, Hamilton reconstructs the lives of Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State for the Confederate States of America, his brother Malachi, founder of Altamaha, Georgia, and the Benjamins after them. Following the epic tradition of the Odyssey and Don Quixote, Tom Darby's first novel meanders across time and space, interconnecting three narratives through family lineage and circumstance. Darby's storytelling has the intricate detail and unifying qualities of John Irving, with Pat Conroy's deep-rooted appreciation for the American South. His language - frank, funny and at times a little foul-mouthed - is entirely his own.