Memories of the true story of a tragic historical event told to her by her mother when they would spend long summers in Trinidad together inspired a Leamington novelist in the creation of her latest work.
Fortune, by Amanda Smyth, is a novel about love, ambition, oil and luck set in 1920s Trinidad and is based on the true story of the 1928 Dome Fire in which 17 people died.
Amanda based a central character on her great grandfather who was an investor in the original Dome oil well, and narrowly escaped death in the tragic event.
The novel tells the story of charismatic prospector Eddie Wade, who has recently returned to Trinidad from the US oilfields.
He is determined to sink his own well - despite the dangers - to make his fortune.
His sights are set on Sonny Chatterjee’s oil-rich cocoa estate.
Although big corporations want to get their hands on his land, Sonny puts his faith in Eddie.
When a fortuitous meeting with businessman, Tito Fernandez, brings Eddie the investor he desperately needs, the three men enter into a partnership.
A friendship between Tito and Eddie begins that will change their lives forever.
But when Tito introduces Eddie to his wife Ada, things become complicated.
Hampered by mosquitoes, heat, monsoon rains and superstitious fears, Eddie and Tito’s fortune eventually materialises, shooting from the ground and filling thousands of barrels of oil.
But as the pressure builds with signs of danger nearby, and Sonny threatens to sell up, Eddie and Tito decide to sink one last well, hoping that their luck will hold.
Of Fortune, Monique Roffey, Costa Book of the Year Winner 2021, said: "Fortune is a perfect novel, a master work of Caribbean literature which will stay with me for a long time.
"Amanda Smyth is writing at the top of her game."
And Indian writer, Neel Mukherjee, who is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, said: "[Fortune is] a thrilling, gripping, moving book about love, desire, and making something of one’s life, written in some of the most beautifully lyrical and clear prose I’ve read in a very long time."
Amanda is an Irish-Trinidadian and was born in Ireland.
Her mother told her about Dome fire of 1928 that led to one of the worst oil disasters in the history of Trinidad’s oil business.
Amanda is the author of Black Rock which was published in 2009 and A Kind of Eden which was released in 2013.
Black Rock, Amanda’s debut novel, won the Prix du Premier Roman prize, was nominated for an National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Award, shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize and selected as an Oprah Winfrey Summer Read.
Amanda teaches creative writing for Arvon, a charitable organisation in the United Kingdom that promotes creative writing, at Skyros in Greece, and at Coventry University.