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25 September 2012

Peter Watt: Beyond the Horizon

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Peter Watt - you continue to astound me
This is another great book by Peter Watt, one Australia's most talented authors who writes superb Australian "factional" family history adventures. I have read all of Peter's many books - and enjoyed all of them, especially this one.

This is Book 7 in the Frontier Series, a much loved saga of the feud between Duffys and Macintoshes which started with The Cry of the Curlew, but the story line and the characters are as fresh as ever. The setting is the last year of the Great War and its aftermath with the world influenza epidemic. While (part Aboriginal) Tom Duffy fights for his life and sanity in the trenches in France, his cousin Matthew Duffy is with the Australian Flying Corps fighting the Turks in the Middle East. Both of them are fortified by their memories of the women they love. Back in Australia, evil arch-enemy George Macintosh builds his business empire with ruthless drive, fuelled by his hatred of the Duffy family.

Watching over all of them is the spirit of the mythical elderly Aboriginal warrior Wallarie who still communicates with the grief of his ancestors at their massacre by the Macintoshes fifty years before. Wallarie foretells disasters and helps to protect those in need.

Peter Watt's writing is full of well researched historical and geographical detail that envelopes you completely in the terrible times at the end of the Great War. He reminds us especially of the attitudes to Aboriginals at the start of the 20th Century.

On his Facebook page he says that he is already working on the next book that covers WWII - I am looking forward to that book because it will involve a whole new  generation in that terrible conflict . Peter is very sensitive about his work and said that in writing his next book - "I had to kill one of my favourite characters this morning. I almost teared up.."

Peter deserves international recognition but his books only seem to be released in Australia and New Zealand. This book was released on the same day as Ken Follett's "Winter of the World" and I have followed the great interest in the US market for that release by an English author. I hope that Peter's publisher can promote his books in overseas markets so that others they can share our enjoyment of his works.

IMHO this book was far more enjoyable than Follett's "Fall of the Giants" that also covered the Great War. I am so glad that I decided to read Beyond the Horizon before Follett's next magnum opus.

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