The Spanish Garden

Cliff Taylor



One day, one life, one hundred years.
On a hot summer morning, in a garden overlooking the Kaipara Harbour, Sidney King reluctantly prepares to mark his 100th birthday. In the same moment, on the opposite side of the world in Spain, a discovery is made which could unlock a mystery that has haunted him for 80 years. Volunteers disinterring skeletons of Spanish Civil War victims unearth a locket which has its own story to tell.
As the day’s tides advance and recede and visitors, welcome and unwelcome, arrive and depart, the old man walks with his ghosts, reliving episodes from his long life. He is also forced to confront, for the first time, the secrets buried within the land upon which he has created his famous garden.
Set on a single day in 2016, in a time when the deadly political divisions of the past are being redrawn, The Spanish Garden tells a story of memory and loss, the generational impact of war, the fatal history shared between two families, Pākehā and Māori, and a man’s enduring obsession with love.

About the Author

Cliff Taylor is an author and journalist who has lived and worked in numerous places around the world. He was born on Auckland’s North Shore and later grew up on a small dairy farm at Makarau, attending Mahurangi College in Warkworth. He completed the journalism course at Auckland Technical Institute (now AUT) and began his journalistic career aged 17 as a reporter on the Auckland Star.
Cliff has travelled widely, sailing around Indonesia and Borneo, riding an old Enfield motorcycle 7000km around India, trekking to the source of the Ganges, buying an olive grove in Spain, living in Barcelona and Brighton, and working as a freelance journalist in Uganda. He has written for a variety of publications including UK daily The Independent, various newspapers in Africa, the Herald on Sunday and the Sunday Star-Times. He also worked as a journalist and producer for eight years at the BBC World Service in London and Africa. The Spanish Garden is his fourth novel.
Cliff enjoys trail running, walking in the mountains, and gardening, and is a keen forager for wild food. He currently lives in Baddeleys Beach on the Tāwharanui Peninsula.

Look Inside

Click HERE to sample some early chapters.


ISBN: 978-1-99-110311-6

Pages: 256

Dimensions: 229mm x 152mm

Format: Trade Paperback

Author: Cliff Taylor

Published: 10 May 2023


“The Spanish Garden is about memory and how it serves and deceives us. It is about the casualties of war, both the dead and the living, and the need to acknowledge the unnamed and the disappeared. It is about buried secrets and their patient wait to be told.

“But it is also about the beauty of places which unite people, and how we are marked for life by the youthful experience of intense love and passion, even, or especially, when it is lost.”