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On arrival in The Great Southland of the 1830s, Jeremy’s crusade is frustrated by news that the Governor has negotiated a peace with the hostile Noongar Aborigines. Jeremy’s behaviour disrupts a delicate balance between white settlers and the blacks, and Maggie condemns him as a violent fool.

Fresh trouble sends Jeremy as a volunteer in a fighting force “to teach the natives a lesson”. Maggie, rides with them as an interpreter, pleading for a non-violent outcome. Instead, there occurs history’s infamous Pinjarra Massacre.

Jeremy and Maggie, loving, hating and confused by age-old instincts, are enmeshed in Governor Stirling’s tarnished dream of an Eden for gentryfolk. After Jeremy finds the three men who killed his father, he is himself charged with murder. In this page-turning novel, romance rides a thorny path indeed.

John Ivor’s plot twists, based on real events, relive the bloody beginning of Australia’s richest state.

Cover image: Detail from The Horsewoman (oil on canvas,
Karl Bryullov, 1799-1852, Moscow).


Dedicated to the battlers,

then and now,

who chase their dream

THERE was a time, a desperate time, when I cursed the gentle mists of my native Oxfordshire, and regretted its picturesque vales and folds.

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