Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
An amazing insight into an amazing period
on 1 May 2002
This suberbly written book takes quite a bit of effort to get into, but is well worth persevering. I was warned that the large number of seemingly unrelated storytellers (including Peevay, an Aborigine boy) would be quite hard to cope with at first. Once you get past this hurdle, however, Kneale gives brilliant simultaneous insights into a number of facinating worlds that are long gone. An age of exploration is displayed in parallel with the striking image of brutality that the European settlers portray, and the situation of the confused but defiant surviving groups of Aborigines.
The book really brings home the sheer arrogance of the settlers of that time, and you cannot help but feel a sense of profound pity at the extinction of a unique people. This, of course is not the first book that has done this, but Kneale's brilliant narrative style serves to really underline the different motives behind the settlers. Some cannot see any point in even giving the 'savages' a life, and others held a wish to preserve the culture (even if it was primarily with a concern for the image of Britain).This serious aspect is intertwined with a brilliant story of adventure that ends with a thriller-like sequence of events. The different threads of the brilliant (and in some cases repulsive) characters all tie together in a very satisfying manner. The true meaning of a page turner.