Clothed in mystery and lost in uncharted seas, the Spice Islands of the early sixteenth century tantalized European imagination to the point of obsession. As the only place on earth where cloves, nutmeg, and mace (the "holy trinity") were grown, they quickly became a wellspring of international intrigue and personal fortune. The Scents of Eden explores the mystique of these islands and the empires they created.Although long used as trading centers by nations in the Far East, to Europeans -- most notably the Portuguese and the Spanish -- the Spice Islands were believed to be the fantastical location of the Garden of Eden. But when the Portuguese discovered untold riches in these islands, they resolved to annex them to their extended empire. England and the Netherlands soon followed, each vying for control with their own East Indies Trading Company. Finally America joined the fray, the spice trade financing the empires of the young republic's first millionaires.The Scents of Eden follows these developments, regaling the reader with fascinating adventures and memorable details of the intrigue of island rulers; the battles fought between islanders, explorers, and pirates; the trials and tragedies of often deadly sea voyages; and some of the most colorful characters in history, from the strangely driven Ferdinand Magellan to the cruel and bloody Jan Coen. Drawn from first-person accounts and contemporary journals and books, The Scents of Eden will be welcomed by fans of Patrick O'Brian and all readers of adventure stories from the high seas.