Martin Sparrow is already struggling when the Hawkesbury’s great flood of March 1806 lays waste to him and his farm. Luckless, lovelorn and deep in debt, the ex-convict is confronted with a choice. He can buckle down and set about his agricultural recovery, or he can heed the whispers of an earthly paradise on the far side of the mountains – a place where men are truly free – and strike out for a new life. But what chance of renewal is there for a man like Sparrow in either the brutal colony or the forbidding wilderness?
The decision he makes triggers a harrowing chain of events and draws in a cast of extraordinary characters, including Alister Mackie, the chief constable on the river; his deputy, Thaddeus Cuff; the vicious hunter, Griffin Pinney; the Romany girl, Bea Faa; and the young Aboriginal men, Caleb and Moowut’tin, caught between war and peace.
About the Author
Peter Cochrane is a widely published historian and writer based in Sydney. He is best known for his book Colonial Ambition: Foundations of Australian Democracy, which won the inaugural Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the Age Book of the Year in 2007. His first venture into fiction was the novella Governor Bligh and the Short Man. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
A wonderful convict era tale of misadventure on the Hawkesbury River north of olde Sydney town. Because of the somewhat remote location of the novel’s setting, and given that New South Wales was essentially a penal settlement at the time, there was plenty of rough justice meted out amongst the white settlers themselves and to the indigenous people of the area. The motley cast that inhabit the book are mostly larger than life, but it seems entirely appropriate for the times. The author has obviously researched his book extremely well, and we recommend it to everyone bar the faint hearted. Ah, maybe we recommend it to them too. State Library of South Australia, Australia
With books nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries, 4 novels by Irish authors are in the running for the €100,000 prize sponsored by Dublin City Council
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