Category Archives: Adventure

East Coast Swaggie by Ted Day

East Coast Swaggie

By Ted Day

When Jack Kelly leaves behind his prestige Sydney home and idyllic harbourside views to retrace the path his grandfather followed to Mildura as a swaggie during the Great Depression, he says goodbye to his comfortable lifestyle, respected status in the business world,  and hardest of all his loving wife Kate. If he can complete the journey in the allotted time and adhere to the strict rules set down by his sponsor, Donny, Jack stands to raise half a million dollars for a very worthy cause.

Jack initially resists the pressure of Donny’s crazy challenge to walk in his grandfather’s footsteps. But with Kate’s blessing and the knowledge that the funds raised will provide genuine help through the work of the mission sponsored, he rolls his swag and heads South on a ten month odyssey.

With the aid of his grandfather’s diary, Jack plots a replica route to revisit the towns where his grandfather sought work to send money back home to his struggling family. Jack must recreate the experience by hitching rides, carrying his swag, camping out and even wearing a swaggie ‘uniform’ so that he faithfully travels in his grandfather’s footsteps. Author Ted Day has meticulously researched the settings and route to provide authenticity to this traveller’s tale and brings the heartbreaking reality of the Depression era into sharp focus.

East Coast Swaggie is much more than a cracking yarn about the perils and pleasures of a rich man reimagining the hardships of the many thousands of Australian men who took to the road during the Great Depression. It is a Quest story, with Jack as the gallant knight who travels far from home to seek an elusive goal, accompanied only by a faithful companion- in Jack’s case a stray dog, Bluey. Along the journey he more often than not leaves a situation or town better than he finds it: he repairs and renews, rights wrongs, protects the downtrodden, takes the side of the underdog in a fight and delivers rough justice to toughs and wannabe crims. Jack faces many personal dangers along the way but through his wit, strength, skills and occasional backup from supporters he seems set to succeed in every challenge- or will he?

While Jack relies on both his brains and his fists to settle more than a few problems concerning corruption or violence, his journey is enriched by encounters with open and honest folk who restore his belief in the innate goodness of ordinary people. He has many opportunities along the road to use his raw talent without relying on his elite business identity and discovers much about himself, and his grandfather. His is an external and internal journey of discovery about his place in the world and his fellow travellers in life.

From a comfortable armchair, the reader can join Jack as he travels highways and byways, sleeping rough and doing it tough to connect with the past and face the challenges of a modern day swaggie. Carefully researched and brim full of engaging characters, East Coast Swaggie is a traveller’s tale well told and sure to entertain readers ready for a journey with a difference.

Chris McGuigan

Kensington Review

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Across Space and Time by Mala Naidoo

Across Time and Space

By Mala Naidoo

Be careful what you wish for…….

Meryl inhabits the world of literature, and harbours a burning desire to discover if her dormant talent can be unleashed to create literature instead of publishing the work of others. Her partner Michael is a passionate human rights lawyer, determined to eliminate injustice and alleviate suffering using the slow moving but effective machinery of law. Drifting through life together for 14 years, the creative, impulsive extrovert and the cautious, cool-headed legal-eagle have somehow not yet found the right time to discuss the important topic of commitment.

Meryl decides to change the dynamics in her life and heads to London for a three month writing sojourn. She is welcomed by her elderly Uncle Ben, who shares her love of literature and understands her need to search for her writing muse. Although distressed at her determination to initiate this ‘break’, Michael accepts Meryl’s decision to quest for her own holy grail. He concedes that with a complex and lengthy human rights case looming he will be buried in his own work for the coming months. By either skyping or telephoning they will speak to each other almost every day anyway, so what could go wrong?

At opposite ends of the globe, Meryl and Michael find unexpected opportunities to examine what is important to them and ultimately test the strength of their relationship. Each has to make a decision which will determine the direction this crossroads will take them- will it be together or alone?

Meryl taps into what seems on the surface to be a well of carefree creativity in Florence while back home Michael discovers how an indomitable spirit can triumph over adversity. Add in a mysterious Russian, a captivating and beautiful client, an isolated country villa and loss of phone contact and the pace picks up to breakneck speed.

Mala Naidoo has spun a web of intrigue where the past entangles the present and her characters face a dangerous and uncertain future. It’s easy to be swept away by this tale of romance, adventure and mystery and a sequel is eagerly awaited!

Reviewed by Chris McGuigan, January 2017

Kensington Review

 

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Naidoo

The Extraordinary Adventure of Clancy MacTaggart by Brett Hallam

clancy-mctaggartGoing to work with mum or dad when you are a preteen is usually restricted to those occasions when school is closed or supervision is not available and staying home alone is not an option. But when Clancy’s dad Mac unexpectedly suggests that he join him at work instead of going to school Clancy can hardly believe his luck. Little does he suspect when he climbs into the family car beside his dad that this red desert road in South Australia will take Clancy towards the ride of his life!

Mac wants Clancy to witness history in the making, however the chain of unforeseen events which will ricochet into Woomera are about to unravel Mac’s carefully ordered world on a cosmic scale. Clancy is thrust into the hot seat to valiantly attempt to save the day, and perhaps humanity. But can he save himself? Clancy discovers that he is cool beyond his years, surprisingly calm in the face of danger, and accepts challenges beyond anything he has ever experienced in the school playground.

Readers will happily suspend disbelief to join Clancy on a Boys’ Own adventure that is sure to excite the imagination of any teen/young reading enthusiast. The twists and turns of the fast paced plot take the reader along on a rollicking adventure, sharing the highs and lows of this extraordinary journey with likeable characters and intriguing scenarios.

In the vein of John Marsden and Matthew Riley, Hallam has conjured a captivating tale about an excellent adventure which grips the imagination and catapults the reader into Clancy’s extraordinary adventure.

Reviewed by Christine McGuigan May 2016

Kensington Review

Available from Sid Harta Publishers http://sidharta.com/title/The_Extraordinary_Adventure_of_Clancy_McTaggart