A vivid novel about ingenuity and hard slog, crooks and dreamers, bootleggers and love.
Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It's being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements are miners from Denniston, young men fresh off the boat, sly-groggers, temperance campaigners, women following their menfolk, local Maori and a varied assortment of people after a new life or a quick buck.
Among them is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct . . .
Jenny Pattrick is an acclaimed historical novelist, whose The Denniston Rose, and its sequel Heart of Coal, are among New Zealand's biggest-selling novels. They have also been republished in an illustrated edition. The former teacher and jeweller's works include the Whanganui novel Landings, and Inheritance, set in Samoa, which, along with all her adult titles, have been number one bestsellers in New Zealand. Other titles include Catching the Current (2005), In Touch with Grace (2006), and Skylark (2012). In 2009 she received the New Zealand Post Mansfield Fellowship. She has been active in the arts community, and has also written stories, songs and shows for children.
Identified by Nicky Pellegrino as 'one of this country's most talented storytellers', it has been said that she creates 'an authentic stage for a cast of characters who interact in ways that always ring true' (The Christchurch Press). Reviewing Landings, Graham Beattie concluded- 'It is not surprising that she is one of NZ's most popular contemporary novelists and this fine piece of historical fiction will further enhance that well-deserved reputation.'
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