The 2013 Man Booker Prize Winner, THE LUMINARIES, is, simply put, a revelation. Although it is quite lengthy, the book’s true ambition lies in its scope and technique. A murder mystery at heart, the novel takes place in New Zealand’s South Island during the gold rush of the 1860’s and focuses on twelve men, each introduced to the reader in the first few pages. The men meet in the smoking room of a hotel, but their gathering is not the social occasion it appears to be. Each character’s story is rich and colorful: among them sit Maori, Jewish, Chinese and French men from all walks of life. Strange coincidences began to emerge among these men. Some very dark truths are unveiled. Characters aren’t who they say they are. A murder is committed. An important piece of luggage is stolen. Names are forged. The novel is intricate, but never burdensome, and the quality of the writing itself is impeccable. This is a novel that tackles myriad themes, including identity, capitalism, and the lengths a person will go for material wealth. Eleanor Catton made Booker Prize history for being the award’s youngest winner with the longest prize-winning novel. Fortunately for us, these are the least important aspects of this amazing work of fiction.