Carl Hancock was born in Aberdare, a South Wales valley town, famous for its steam coal. He now lives on a small farm in the Adelaide Hills, a region famous for its vineyards and excellent wine. Between these bookends there was a lot of teaching in places as far apart as Brynmawr and the Great Rift Valley.
The heart of the story tells of the uneven confrontation between the nastiest of the senior boys and a strong-minded, thirteen-year old French newcomer. When the older boy fails to break the spirit of the rebellious upstart, the battle is ratcheted up several notches and the senior, Dirk Digby, is ready to do whatever it takes to crush the life out of his nemesis.