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Thomas began as a question.

Imagine—a pious young Englishman kneels in prayer. Weighed down by guilt, he prays for a sense of purpose and for the opportunity to serve God and find redemption.

On the other side of the world, a young Maori girl sits with her family beneath a star-studded sky. A little distance off, warriors are opening an earth oven, and the air fills with the odor of cooked human flesh.

Within two decades or so, they will become lovers.

And so the question is, What combination of character and circumstance could have made this possible?

Taken from history, Thomas follows the life of Thomas Kendall, one of the first missionaries to New Zealand. With his wife and growing family, he settled at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. Living in wretched, primitive conditions, in discord with his colleagues and defiance of his superiors, he was drawn into the world of the Maori. Beset by the twin demons of Utter Doubt and Utter Certainty, he struggled to bring redemption to the Maori and to find it for himself and failed spectacularly.