As a child, Robin Bayley was enchanted by his grandmother’s stories of her father’s Mexican adventures; of bandits, wild jungle journeys, hidden bags of silver and his narrow escape from the bloody Mexican Revolution. At the end of the 19th century Robin’s great grandfather, Arthur – or ‘Arturo’ – Greenhalgh left England to travel through the Americas. His fabulous stories were passed down through the generations, but Robin always sensed in them an absence, as if some key detail remained untold. So great was his desire to fill that vacuum that he sold his London flat and abandoned a successful media career to retrace his great grandfather’s footsteps across the Atlantic, through the US, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and finally Mexico.
The Mango Orchard tells the true story of Robin and Arturo’s parallel journeys – a hundred years apart – into the heart of Latin America.
In The Mango Orchard, Robin, undaunted by the passage of time and a paucity of information, seeks out the places where Arturo had travelled and lived, determined to uncover the mystery of what he had left behind. Along the road Robin encounters witches, drug dealers, a gun-toting Tasmanian Devil and an ex-Nazi diamond trader. He is threatened with deportation, offered the protection of Colombian guerrilla fighters and is comforted by the blessings of los santos. He falls in love with a Guatemalan psychic and almost gives up his quest, until a sense of destiny drives him on to western Mexico and the discovery of much, much more than he had ever expected.