In 1881, ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour. The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.
Master storyteller Judy Nunn has now sold over one million books worldwide. In her spellbinding new best seller, she takes us on a breathtaking journey deep into the red heart of Australia. It is 2001, and as the world charges into the new millennium, a century-old dream is about to be realised in the Red Centre of Australia: the completion of the mighty Ghan railway, a long-lived vision to create the 'backbone of the continent', a line that will finally link Adelaide with the Top End.
In 1788, Thomas Kendall, a naive nineteen-year-old sentenced to transportation for burglary, finds himself bound for Sydney Town in the penal colony of New South Wales. Discarding allegiance to the country that has disowned him, Thomas, an honest man at heart, seizes a second chance and begins a new life in the wild and lawless land beneath the Southern Cross. Thomas Kendall fathers a dynasty that will last beyond 200 years.
"A bit slow at the start. picked up well"
Each of the four who travel this journey has a story to tell. An environmentalist fights to save the primitive and beautiful Pilbara coast from the careless ravaging of mining conglomerates; a Vietnam War veteran rises above crippling injuries to discover a talent that gains him an international reputation; and an ambitious geologist joins forces with a hard-core businessman to lead the way in the growth of Perth from a sleepy town to a glittering citadel.
Van Diemen's Land was an island of stark contrasts; a harsh penal colony, an English idyll for its landed gentry, and an island so rich in natural resources it was a profiteer's paradise. Its capital Hobart Town had its contrasts too; the wealthy elite in their sandstone mansions, the exploited poor in the notorious slum known as Wapping, and the criminals and villains who haunted the dockside taverns and brothels of Sullivan's Cove.
"A Fantastic Listen"
During the darkest days of the Cold War, in the remote wilderness of a South Australian desert, the future of an infant nation is being decided ... without its people's knowledge. A British airbase in the middle of nowhere; an atomic weapons testing ground; an army of raw youth led by powerful, ambitious men - a cocktail for disaster. Such is Maralinga in the spring of 1956.
"Skilful interweaving of fact and fiction"