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The Making of Martin Sparrow
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Peter Cochrane
The Making of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Making of Martin Sparrow

Peter Cochrane



Fiction & Literature;
Historical fiction


453 pages

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ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— The early days of the colonial settlement on the Hawkesbury River are no place for the genteel or indolent. Violence, wrought by Nature or by man, visits just about everyone in Peter Cochrane’s gothic-tinged tale of the unknown.

His atmospheric story is of two floods. The first being a great flood that rips down the valley, bringing with it changing fortunes for a debt-laden no-hoper and ex-convict named Martin Sparrow. Rumours of a land of plenty and of freedom - a paradise lying beyond the imposing mountain range - snake throughout the settlement, seeking out those disposed to becoming ‘bolters’.

As well, the uneasy interactions with the indigenous men and women depicts a time before any knowledge by the first people of the coming floodtide of white settlers.

Full of characters with wonderfully florid names such as Nimrod Parsonage, Harper Sneezby, Shug McCafferty and Mortimer Craggs (I call for Stephen Fry to do a role call) and also many phrases known only to history buffs such as Cochrane, this fecund novel, the first from the award-winning historian, is to be enjoyed with a tin mug of ‘bang-head’. Craig Kirchner


Colonies are built on dreams, but some dreams threaten ruin.

Set against the awe-inspiring immensity of the hinterland west of the Hawkesbury River, this epic novel of chance and endurance is an immersion into another time, a masterpiece of language and atmosphere.

Ex-convict Martin Sparrow is already a lazy, lovelorn and deep-in-debt failure when his farm is wrecked by the great flood of March 1806. In the aftermath, he is confronted with a choice: buckle down and set about his agricultural recovery, or 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.

But what chance does a ditherer such as Sparrow have of renewal, either in the brutal colony or in the forbidding wilderness? The decision he makes triggers a harrowing chain of events and draws in a cast of extraordinary characters including Alister Mackie, the chief constable on the river; his deputy, Thaddeus Cuff; the vicious hunter, Griffin Pinney; the Romany girl, Bea Faa; and the young Aboriginal men, Caleb and Moowut'tin, caught between war and peace.

Rich, raw, strangely beautiful and utterly convincing, The Making of Martin Sparrow reveals Peter Cochrane - one of our leading historians - as one of our most compelling novelists as well.


By:   Peter Cochrane
Imprint:   Viking
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 35mm
Weight:   610g
ISBN:   9780670074068
ISBN 10:   0670074063
Pages:   453
Publication Date:   April 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Peter Cochrane is an historian and freelance writer living in Sydney. His previous books include Colonial Ambition- Foundations of Australian Democracy, winner of the inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for History, and Australians at War, the companion volume to the ABC TV series.

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