Category Archives: Books

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Author’s Blurb

From the author of Chameleon comes this historical fiction novel, Mark of the Leopard, the second in the African history series, a story of romance, mystery, danger and betrayal set against a backdrop of wild lands and raging seas.

In 1703 Sabrina Barrington and her children are shipwrecked and presumed drowned off the Cape of Good Hope, the site of the present-day city of Cape Town. Fourteen years later, an investigator tells Sabrina’s brother, Lucien Castle, that one of his sister’s children has been seen on the island of Madagascar, off Africa’s east coast. It is imperative to return the youngster to England before his twenty-fifth birthday, otherwise his grandfather, the corrupt and detested Robert Barrington, will usurp his rightful inheritance. Castle is the only one who can confirm the young man is not an impostor. In order to do this he must leave the comfort of Amsterdam in Holland and embark on a journey into the unknown.

Will Castle be able to overcome his demons and find his nephew in time? Or will he succumb to the perils that beset his epic expedition every step of the way?

In a voyage that takes them from the untamed island of Madagascar to the storm-tossed Dutch outpost at the Cape of Good Hope, Castle and his companion must face innumerable dangers and battle not only rival investigators but also each other.

Review by Hazel Barker

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart is a fast-moving story that is difficult to put down. It is a novel rich in history and laden with suspense. The author has clearly done extensive research and woven it seamlessly into the novel. She uses her skills as an historian to write a gripping yarn.

The characters, and in particular, Lucien Castle, who goes in search of his nephew, Tom Barrington, spring from the page. A sense of guilt regarding his wife and children, stirs Lucien to help his sister’s son. He fears the sea and faces his fear time and time again, in order to save the boy.

Kathy Stewart is a versatile writer and is the author of children’s books as well as several books of non-fiction.

Mark of the Leopard is her second novel. Her debut novel, Chameleon was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award in 2010.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Auhor, Australian author, Australian literature, author, Book Reviews, Books, Hazel Barker, Hazel Barker author, Uncategorized

Victoria Point Writers at the Little Gnome Bookshop

2529 (2)313334

10 Comments

Filed under Australian author, Australian literature, author, Books, coffee, Hazel Barker, Hazel Barker author, Little Gnome Bookshop

The Seasons of Life

Unique are the seasons of life. Their lengths vary; sometimes cut short; sometimes, painfully prolonged.
Spring
How well I recall my Spring of life. A child of five, happy and free. Our ten-year-old brother towered above us, ready to fend off harm. The next, a year younger, laughed, pranced and sang. A source of joy. Then my sister. Two years and six months my senior, my dearest companion held a wealth of knowledge.
I trusted they’d be near forever.
Another sister arrived.
Then bombs tore us from home and Japanese invaders ended the Spring of our lives.
Summer
Summer was harsh. Our bodies scarcely grew in size except to swell and swell. Beriberi.
With bellies like pregnant women and feet twice their normal size, we thought we’d burst like balloons…
But still we were together.
My brothers, with boyish glee, roamed the countryside. Adventure beckoned. They ran wild in search of food and fun. The hot sun beat down upon them but on they tramped …
My mother, my sisters and I stayed home. The days passed. Our strength ebbed away. We longed for food – and slept.
My first taste of death.
Rats fed on the dead – dead birds, dead animals, dead people. Disease spread; entered our home and stole my sister. Plague.
My baby sister burned with fever; her body sprouted sores. No doctor. No medicine. For days and nights she burned. Smallpox.
Miraculously, she recovered.
The eldest shivered and quivered even in the hell of summer. Drank the bitter herbs we picked – but couldn’t eat. Emaciated and exhausted, he sank down, his strength sapped. Malaria.
Weak and tired. No food to eat. We lay in bed, awaiting death …
Far off we heard – not harps of angels greeting us – but sounds of bagpipes on the plains. It lashed our bodies like a whip. We rose in answer to the call.
Soldiers marched, kilts swayed, kettledrums flourished and pipers led the way. Hope and freedom followed in their wake.
My brother rose, like a ghost, cured by a dose of mepacrine. Saved – we thought.
Still in the summer of our lives, we moved back to the bombed-out city. We lived like squatters in a store, but went to school and learned much more …
Three years since the bagpipers played, God called the eldest to his grave.
The second death.
Years passed. Britain left and Burma bled. Anarchy raged. One by one we fled.
I remained. Alone, but poised to leave.
Finally, I stretched my wings and flew away; my studies incomplete. Torn asunder from kith and kin, what lay in wait, Down Under?
I drank freedom and breathed joy. With open arms love beckoned. I nestled there; content.
Autumn
Now in the autumn of my years, I listen to the songs of birds, inhale the fragrance of a flower with my dearest friend and lover.
Each day we watch the sun rise and set. It’s autumn. Will it last forever?
Winter must come, but when it does, we’ll meet the future hand-in-hand as we depart this glorious land.

A Synopsis of my memoir: See No Evil: story of a warchild

Published in 2013 Seasons Anthology
by Carindale Writers’ Group.

10 Comments

Filed under Books