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J.R. Gordon

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Graves in the Wilderness
by J.R. Gordon   

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Sid Harta Publishers ISBN-10:  1921030437 Type: 


Copyright:  Nov 2005 ISBN-13:  9781921030437

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From the blood-soaked rangelands of Texas to the lawless goldfields of far north Queensland, a captivating tale of comradship and ambition.

Piper Campbell, the son of Ulster-Scott migrants befriends N'kawa, the only survivor of the East Texas black Indian Karankawa tribe. As brothers, the two become inseparable.

The horrors of the American civil war behind them, Piper and N'kawa, disillusioned and alone, sell their Texas estate and travel the seven seas in search of a new land to rebuild their lives as cattlemen.

Settling in Australia, the enterprizing two seize an opportunity to establish themselves in Cooktown, a fledgeling port that would see tens-of-thousands of hungry miners pass through on their way to the rivers of gold in the Cape York Wilderness.

There, they become unwilling participants of the first overland expedition from Cooktown to the Palmer River as protectors of the ostracized but resourceful Chinese. They soon find themselves involved in yet another war, this time as unwitting participants bearing arms against the local Aborgiginals, know as the Merkins, a formidable and ferocious foe. In the events that follow they suffer unimagined heartbreak and loss.

Graves in the Wilderness is fast paced, exciting, brutal and often confronting. Rich in incident, compassion and frustration ... a novel that captures the essence of a by-gone era.     
A woman approached and interrupted their conversation. 'Cristoforo,' she said with a friendly smile, placing her hand on the stranger's arm. 'Has all the gear been transferred to the steamer ready for tomorrow?'
'Yes, it's all taken care of,' he replied.
Piper watched her as she departed the lounge. 'Lovely lady,' he nodded slowly.
'And the best opera singer in the land,' the stranger said. 'Gentlemen, you have just been in the company of the great Countess Marie Carandini. To hear her sing is to enter the palour of heaven itself.'
'You work with her?' Piper queried.
'Yes, and I live with her. She's my mother. Still thinks of me as a child and still addresses me by my childhood name, regardless of my protests,' he feigned a look of despair.
'Mothers do that,' Piper agreed as he stood to offer his handshake. 'Piper Campbell, and this here's N'kawa Campbell,' he added motioning to a now standing N'kawa.
'Christie,' the stranger replied with a broad smile of his handsome face,'Christie Palmerston Carandini. Perhaps you'll enjoy our theatre when next we meet in the North.

Professional Reviews

Wendy O'Hanlon -APN
A gritty fictional historical novel that paints the ferocity of war in human hues. It's a robust story that ties in the American civil war with the early pioneering gold rush days of Australia. Both eras brutal and unforgiving. The bond between the two heroes - the young American and his Indian brother - is unforgettable as they survive so many hardships to carve a new life in Australia.

Camille Parker - Urban Echo NC
Graves in the Wilderness is a touching tale of loyalty and triumph over adversity. An enthralling read, Gordon does a superb job of compacting a very action-packed, fast-paced read within the greater framework of an engaging, sentimental narrative. Furthermore, his knowledge of historical events and indigenous culture are more than impressive.
A highly recommended read for fans of good old fashioned historical dramas - and, if you're not already a fan, this book will surely make you a new convert.

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