Author(s): Des Hunt
A story in the Compassionate Courtesan Universe.Some anthropologists once did a comprehensive survey of what human cultures considered beautiful. There was one consistent: trait-symmetry. Every human culture in existence said that the person with symmetric physical features was the beautiful one. I'm the ugly one. This is my story of how I met a beautiful courtesan and what happened after.
When Robbie Walker’s father dies of cancer, he takes out his anger on anyone near. In the hope of saving what remains of their family, Robbie’s mother sends him off to spend the summer holidays on Uncle Jim’s farm where his father grew up. There, in a hidden valley that his father once called Paradise, Robbie discovers a new friend — a creature thought extinct for more than a hundred years. But others also visit Paradise: wildlife thieves whose only interest is to get rich through this new animal.
Soon Robbie is caught up in a dangerous adventure that takes him to the sulphur-encrusted steam fields of White Island volcano — a place where death is always close at hand. Robbie must use all his knowledge, courage and wit to save his new friend ... and also himself.
First published by HarperCollins in 2002, and a finalist in the 2003 NZ Post Children's Book Awards.