[ book ] The Making of Martin Sparrow

August 31, 2018

The Making of Martin Sparrow
Peter Cochrane

Rating: 4 / 5

 
In his new book, author Peter Cochrane focuses on the experiences of convicts, with all the muck and grime and desperation of life along the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Cochrane unapologetically details the harsh realities of life in the early days of Britain’s colonisation of Australia.


The well-paced narrative introduces the book’s anti-hero, Martin Sparrow, and an irreverent cast of men and women battling penal colony life. The story is exciting and unpredictable, but also deals with topics fundamental to Australian history, with the interactions between Indigenous Australians and the British colonists being a significant feature.  


The colonial setting is an almost alien world for modern readers, but the landscapes are recognisably Australian—starkly beautiful and equally hostile. Cochrane weaves an impressive historical fiction not only inspired by but also informed by modern, academic understandings of colonial Australia’s earliest history.  


 

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Vol. 138, No. 46 // 16 November 2019

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