Lazy, lovelorn and luckless, Martin Sparrow is already deep in debt when a devastating flood strikes the Hawkesbury River in 1806. His 30-acre farm is all but washed away, leaving the former convict with a choice: he can buckle down and set about his agricultural renewal, or he can heed the whispers of an earthly paradise on the far side of the mountains – a place where men are truly free – and strike out for a new life.

Exploring hope, renewal, survival and redemption this is an historically informed, fictional portrayal of life on a brutal frontier. Based on several real historical events, Cochrane’s vivid use of language and twisting plotlines brings to life one of Australia’s most thrilling and formative periods of history.

His worst enemy was fear…fear that sinks into the skin and slithers along one’s inner byways and coils about the vitals and squeezes…