Although it could be read alone, The BurningIsland is the sequel to Jock Serong’s previous and critically acclaimed novel Preservation.
Those that read Preservation will know that the author writes historical fiction very well but for me it’s his ability to build great characters that really binds you too his writing. In my opinion, the sequel is better than the first novel, although I enjoyed both.
Set in the early 1800’s and seen through the eyes of 31 year old single woman Eliza Grayling, who was born in the young Sydney colony to a Navy Lieutenant father, and an English mother who was murdered by the stories villain not long after Eliza’s birth.
After her mother’s death, her father never recovered and has drunk himself into poor health. Eliza has become an independent woman although has struggled to find her exact place in the world. Her father gets an opportunity to track down his wife’s killer in the Bass Strait islands and Eliza goes with him out of concern for his poor health.
It’s a gripping pursuit with a typical highly dramatic Jock Serong climax (any one who read one of Jocks previous books On the Java Ridge is still getting over the ending!) and doesn’t let the reader down. It’s also quite educational as he paints a graphic picture of life in the islands of Bass Straight at that time.
Review by Marty @ Great Escape Books