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Albert of Adelaide Hardcover – 26 Jul 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (26 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668840X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846688409
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,435,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A rollicking adventure story and ultimately an exploration of the nature of prejudice (Washington Post)

An absolutely splendid novel that works on multiple levels ... it's a parable about the fate of Australia's first people, and about the impact of humans on the environment, but it's also a bloody good yarn, told in beautifully crafted, dry and understated prose (Bookgeeks)

A tale for adults packed with entertainment, insight, pathos and a satirical punch. (The Bookbag) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A story of the Australian Outback, a duck-billed platypus on a quest, and what it means to be a hero.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I couldn't resist trying this novel because of the quirky blurb, but I was slightly worried that, as so often happens with quirky blurbs, it would turn out to be the best thing about the book, and sure enough, it did.

Just to make clear what it isn't, because it would be possible to be unintentionally misled by the blurb into thinking this was (a) a comedy romp or (b) aimed at children. It is neither; it's a quite serious adult fantasy novel whose main characters are Australian marsupials who wear clothes, carry guns and eat tinned sardines, among many other things. Now there's no reason this can't work, in theory; you suspend your disbelief and accept that fantasy universes have different rules. Talking, clothed mules work for Magnus Mills in "Explorers of the New Century"; a platypus on a quest, accompanied by an arsonist wombat and encountering a Tasmanian Devil who is clearly an avatar of Conrad's Kurtz from "Heart of Darkness" could work here. But it didn't, for me. This is partly because the writing style itself is rather flat and over-explanatory - at one point he spends a paragraph explaining that Albert can't go into town because his face is on a wanted poster, a fact so blindingly obvious that it had never even occurred to me to question why someone else goes instead.

The other reason is that, when writing a fantasy, it is necessary to be very well acquainted with the reality in which it is grounded, which I don't think he is. He's an American who has never set foot in Australia; this alone needn't prevent his depictions of it from convincing, but they don't really come alive for me. More seriously, he doesn't seem at all well informed about the nature of modern zoos in advanced countries, nor indeed about animal nature in some respects.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We meet Albert a duck-billed platypus, lost and alone in the Australian outback. He had escaped from Adelaide Zoo to search for old Australia rumoured to be a place where animals ruled and where humans did not venture. Now Albert was struggling through a sandstorm, exhausted and close to death when he heard singing. Following the sound he stumbles into the camp of Jack, a fire loving wombat. Saved by Jack, Albert becomes his close friend. They travel together to a remote mining station run by O'Hanlin, a wily kangaroo. Albert gets drunk and joins a gambling game of two-up. Things go wrong and a fire starts. Albert and Jack run away, but are soon pursued by a fierce troop of kangaroos and wallabies. A poster shows Albert to be a wanted platypus. Of course, the other animals have never seen a platypus so they are wary of him and blame him for the fire.

Eventually Jack leaves Albert, who finds a sign 'Gates of Hell' which turns out to be a store run by a disreputable duo Bertram, a wallaby and Theodore, an evil possum. Albert is robbed by the pair but is saved again by TJ, a racoon. They travel together and TJ tries un unsuccessful attempt to be a robber. Albert is not much help as he cannot shoot very well. Albert is left alone again after TJ is taken away by some dingoes.

Albert decides to try and find Muldoon, an old champion wrestler. Jack had spoken of him, but would not answer questions about their relationship.

After finding Muldoon, camped by a waterhole, and again meeting up with Jack, now limping and TJ who was befriended by the dingoes the foursome rest in their camp. They hear a battle and soon shells are falling nearby.It is the posse of kangaroos and wallabies led by Theodore and Bertram against the dingoes.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This seems to have had a mixed reaction and I can see why, I personally found it engaging and touching, It sort of sold itself as a comedy, but it is more of a tale of friendship, greed and marsupial violence.

Albert is a Duck Billed Platypus and he has escaped from Adelaide Zoo to find the Old Australia where animals still rule their old kingdoms. Weighed down by the trauma of being captured when he was younger and the death of his mother he feels that anything is better than the zoo. He first runs into Jack, a Wombat with a penchant for starting fires, but handy with both sardines and tea. This leads him to his first adventure, but no sooner is he left to his own devices than he gets into trouble again. On the way we have bar tending kangaroos, an American racoon some barmy bandicoots and more than a fair share of dingoes. It is all set in the outback and has a feeling of the Wild West about the settings and story line, but with a great dollop of Aussie culture smack in the middle of it.

As I said I thought this was going to be funny, but it is freely a human story using the animals as the vehicles to take that forward. We still do have their characteristics being given to all the animals but underneath there are almost lessons for man and his self destructive nature.

Howard L. Anderson has an easy writing style that both flows and is accessible and I found this to be quite compelling once it got going. So if you are up for a story of gun totin marsupials with a few messages along the way, this could be the one for you.
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