The second novel of the Coloured Sands Trilogy. Frontier adventure, fast paced with fiery love and a host of unusual characters.
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Valley of the Eagle
Coloured Sands Trilogy
The second novel of the Coloured Sands Trilogy.
This is the powerful, almost unnerving story of the Clarke family of Moorooba Downs, and the O’Shea family of Wandara Station. Both share boundaries with the great Jooloonga Station of ‘Coloured Sands’ the first novel of the series
The womanising Jonathon Clarke has deserted his wife and daughter Annie, aged 15 for a Boston socialite, selling the herds, leaving the family bereft of funds. This brings his son Benjamin, an English Aristocrat to the family cattle station in Australia. The worthy but arrogant Benjamin vows revenge for his mentally ill mother; but must first conduct a muster of the scrubbers (wild cattle) so they might ‘start over’. He has much to learn. Annie is his mentor.
He soon finds his match in the neighbor’s daughter, the highly sexed and stunning Miriam O’Shea. Their love cannot endure. They must first be humbled by the consequences of their feuding families.
Ben is at a loss to tame the fearless, Gully Raking (cattle stealing) Annie who hides her bounty in a secret gorge. The Stolen Generations come into play with Josie giving birth to the child fathered by the Boss, a child who is taken into the family and loved wholeheartedly. In return Ben is grateful for her powerful devotion and common sense in managing the household.
Feel the beauty of the Australian bush and know the magic of the aboriginal stockman (witch doctor) Mick, as his powers become one with the ancient mystical eagle, custodian of the secret Dreaming place known as Valley of the Eagle. This wondrous place of caves and moss-covered stones in bubbling creeks, of fern-tree gullies and towering sandstone walls will be the final resting place of a much loved family member. Benjamin has to find his way in a world diverse from anything he previously conceived as normal.
The Second World War intrudes and the huge cattle stations must find beef for the troops.
Tracking the fortunes of the Clarke family as they battle the neighbors, the evil son, cattle duffers and their love life will be an unforgettable experience. This is the second novel of the ‘Coloured Sands Trilogy’.
The first version of this novel was published by Strictly Literary in Dec. 1995 with the title ‘Gully Rakers.’
Benjamin Clarke relaxed in the high-backed padded chair in the office of his grand old homestead. He bent his head forward and massaged his neck with both hands, coaxing the muscles to relax. It had been a long day. Ben squared his shoulders and ran his fingers through his thick dark brown hair. The prematurely grey sideburns blended perfectly with the steel grey of his eyes, giving him the appearance of being much older than thirty-two. His looks, his mode of dress and the polished accent might have suited an English aristocrat but his life had changed dramatically.
A satisfied expression spread over the Englishman's weather-beaten face as he gazed at the cattle cheque he pulled from an envelope. The sale of five hundred prime bullocks at top market prices was indeed a tidy sum. The war had brought prosperity to the cattle industry. The troops needed to be fed.
His thoughts went to his sister Annie. It was Annie's adversities that provided the catalyst to swing him onto a different path, spurring him onto a road of changing values. Ultimately, through obscure and unforeseen events, these changes had brought him success - if one called wealth success.
He leant forward, picked up the glass of Scotch and swallowed it in one gulp. He sighed deeply, allowing his head to fall back against the plush leather. Piercing eyes beneath his arched brows darted absently around the room.
His eyes played over the original oil portraits; a dark man's inspirational talent that brought memories tumbling back, memories of a place more beautiful than any other on earth.
The beauty of the art burrowed into his mind as it blazed a trail through his vision, a trail of wonder and enchantment. Ben's eyes settled on the portrait of the giant wedge-tailed eagle, the enormous wings spanning seven feet or more, with clawed feet ready to land on the branch of a white-barked gum near the entrance to the gorge. Ben shook his head. The whisky must have riddled his senses. The damn eagle was looking straight at him with that piercing, discriminating stare he knew so well. He half expected to hear the ear-splitting, cat-like screech this eagle rendered when making his presence dominant.
He inhaled deeply, his eyes determinately searching the other oils: Moorooba Downs Homestead stirred images of a beautiful dark girl holding a half-caste baby boy to her plump breast. There was a middle-aged woman, a little crazy, old before her time, cradling a pink baby with soft, auburn hair. She was in a rocking chair, singing in a soft, sweet tone until the baby girl fell asleep.
Ben shifted in his comfortable seat as the doorknob turned. A small boy stole a look at him. He feigned sleep; he was too tired but not too tired for a memory that had been haunting him for weeks. Whenever that child appeared, the memory, his look, an expression, returned.
Would he ever escape those eyes that used to shine with an effervescent glow? Would he ever escape that memory? Was he going to do anything about its insistence? A sudden dark anger gripped his soul, tore at him with a maddening rage. What possessed him to come to this damn country, anyhow? What? Suddenly his life was spiralling down that lane of years ago . . . he had been angry then, too.