The year is 1858. Thomas Glover is a gutsy eighteen-year-old who grasps the chance of escape to foreign lands and takes a posting as a trader in Japan. Within ten years he amasses a great fortune, learns the ways of the samurai, and, on the other side of the law, brings about the overthrow of the Shogun. Yet beneath Glover's astonishing success lies a man cut to the heart. His love affair with a courtesan - a woman who, unknown to him, would bear him the son for which he had always longed - would form a tragedy so dramatic as to be immortalised in the stories behind Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon. The Pure Land relives in fiction the arc of Glover's true-life rise and fall, and forges a hundred-year saga that culminates in the annihilation of Nagasaki in 1945.