“[Italo] Calvino explores the idea that all great literature exhibits the qualities of Quickness, Lightness, Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity. All these qualities inhered in perfect measure in Rachael King’s novel The Sound of Butterflies. The story of traumatised lepidopterist Thomas Edgar had such a quiet and unsettling power that I found myself dreaming of the Amazon for weeks after finishing the book.” Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries and The Rehearsal, in The New Zealand Listener ‘Books of the Year’, December 2008.

The Sound of Butterflies is engaging and tremendously well-imagined [and] …a ripping yarn. A natural-born writer, King’s prose flows as strongly as the Amazon, rich with easy lyricism…. This is a complete meal of a novel, ambitious and well planned.” The Australian Literary Review, October 2008.

“Rachael King has written a talented debut. Her narrative skills are strong, as are her captivating descriptions of the city of Manaus and its environs.” The Age, August 2008.

“[Rachael King’s] mesmerizing combination of narrative, diary pages and letters reveals the true terror that Edgar experienced in the Amazon, where he witnessed one man’s inhumanity to his own people… a captivating story.” The Washington Post, October 2007

“Mordantly magnetic… Thomas’s almost sacred quest for a particularly beautiful and elusive butterfly sets up an unforgettably bittersweet story, with its elliptical search for meaning in a world where one kills the thing one loves, and the victim is silent… King’s jungle descriptions are masterful… Her rippling prose builds to a wave of intrigue and danger.” Book Page, USA, October 2007

“Rachael King’s elegant, understated writing style takes the reader from the parlors of England to the wilds of Brazil… The Sound of Butterflies enchants and informs even as it transports the reader to times and places we would like to disavow but make up our emotional and scientific heritage.” Tampa Tribune, October 2007

“Compelling … the brutal world of an abusive Brazilian rubber baron and the secrets of exotic jungle love are steamy and sensuous. And timeless.” USA Today, September 2007

“In this debut novel about love, betrayal and devotion, King offers a vibrant portrayal of a jungle inner-world and the characters who roam within it… Sensuous descriptions and multidimensional characters carry the novel. Gross displays of wealth, intense bloodlust and the immense beauty and danger of the jungle enrapture, providing a sharp contrast to the tightly-corseted society of early 20th-century England. As Thomas’s quest for his perfect butterfly becomes a symbol for flawlessness that does not exist, both he and Sophie must learn to live with their imperfections and adopt a more real, honest love. As lush and captivating as the jungle in which it is set.” Kirkus Review, USA, August 2007

“There’s plenty of life in their strained marriage, making this a noteworthy debut, and King a writer to watch.” Publishers Weekly, USA, August 2007

“King won a major prize in her native New Zealand for this debut and it’s understandable as to why: there’s a frayed love story, a chilling mystery and a sense of epic adventure as amateur naturalist Thomas Edgar leaves England in search of elusive butterflies and gets caught up in island rhythms sensual and dangerous. If a book gets me completely lost in its world, of course I have to tell people to read it.” Sarah Weinman, Pick of the Week, August 2007

The Sound of Butterflies fuses Edwardian gentility with obsession, murder, and a glimpse of the giddy excess of the Brazilian rubber boom…It’s convincing, told in prose as opulent as one of Thomas’s specimens.” Observer, UK, March 2007

“King’s easy narrative moves back and forth from the stultifying social confines of early 20th-century England to the sultry and seductive world of the rainforest – with all the cruelty and corruption that it feeds. Rich and evocative, The Sound of Butterflies is an enjoyable debut.” Financial Times, UK, March 2007

“This is a beautifully written book with vivid prose and some startling, apt but unusual imagery. Rachael King describes with equal effectiveness the staid life in England, the beauty of the colourful butterflies of the Amazon and the horrors and brutality of the rubber magnates towards their people, whether slave or supposedly free… This is a compelling read, both for the story and the lusciously rich language.” Historical Novels Review, May 2007

“Rachael King has written a wonderful novel, her first, which sets a new standard for first-time writers in this country.” New Zealand Herald on Sunday, July 2006

“I don’t know if Rachael King has been up the Amazon but she certainly writes about it as though she has. So lucidly does she write you can easily imagine the sweat dripping down your back and the night noises in the jungle. She knows how to tell a story too. There are no flat spots in her narrative. The story hums along. I read this book in two days, such was the grip it had on me. It’s a brave new author who takes on a book of this scope and complexity. King has succeeded brilliantly.” North and South, NZ, July 2006

“…The result is an impressive novel filled with lyrical prose and clearly defined characters. The seductive setting gradually draws the reader into the hot, dangerous world of the Amazonian rainforest … The portrait of a man driven mad by his quest for perfection … is most convincing and had this reader up until the early hours. I look forward to King’s next novel.” The Christchurch Press, August 2006

The Sound of Butterflies is ambitious, especially for a first novel, but Rachael King – daughter of historian Michael King – has made a strong, competent debut… Readers should allow a decent chunk of time to get stuck into this novel, but patience does pay off in this increasingly gripping tale.” New Zealand Herald, July 2006

“With her first novel, Rachael King proves herself one of our most promising writers. Her intelligent gaze snags on quirky details of personality or place or on mostly forgotten history, and spins captivating and provocative stories from them.” Next Magazine, July 2006.

“The Amazonian setting is convincingly rendered …What really distinguishes The Sound of Butterflies is King’s willingness to interrogate the politics of colonial enterprise in ways that would never have occurred to [H] Rider Haggard … King’s book might be read as a meditation on the varieties and consequences of silence. Ears attuned to the barely audible sibilance of butterflies in flight can nevertheless fail to detect the brutal thwack of a limb-lopping machete. That is bad enough, but it is worse, as Thomas discovers, to witness atrocities and say nothing.” Sunday Star-Times, NZ, July 2006

“There’s a potent array of material here: a love story, exotic settings, sex, travel, colonialism, some disturbing scenes of abasement and brutality, and, at the heart of the book, the mystery of Thomas’s silence. Tension builds and as the novel goes on, King’s narrative is well paced.” The New Zealand Listener, NZ, July 2006