– New author –
Empire of the Long White Cloud.
Empire Under the Long White Cloud self published by author Gary Blair is quite frankly a bloody good yarn and Mr Blair should be very proud of himself. I have read it and a que has formed in household by other members also wanting to read it after watching the reactions of those who have.
8 years in the making, this is a fact based fictional novel. The book is written by Gary Blair, who was once a jockey in his youth, apprentice to the late Ray Harris from Tuahiwi. Based in the mid 1850s, and the story follows a lads fight for survival in this the furthest outpost of the British Empire.
And his experience on the Collingwood
Goldfields, the history of the early mariners, the story of Te Rauparaha, and the slaughter of the tribes who lived in the far north of Te Wai Pounamu between 1827 -1831 and beyond. The book works on many levels as historic novel revealing the seedy history of
NZ politics, gun runners, race relations and those with greed in their eyes.
On another level the book is simply good yarn about NZ pioneer history which brings history alive warts and all (including oral sex and opium).
Detailed from start to end from how to pack a pipe to breaking a horse in but rarely dry or drawn out in way that make the reader know the author has forgotten them. It confirms what I have long known NZ history was every bit colorful as the Wild West and Cowboy era but until now has it interest suck dry by academics historian and Victorian Presbyterianism, regional parochialism. The sort of censored version which glossed over the seedy and made NZ
history slightly less exciting than a frontal lobotomy patient on Valium.
We need more books like this to remind us of just what a fascinating (and often violent) place the NZ of the 1800’s was.
The books also works as parody on greed and what happens when loose sight of with real prize and you get the feeling and appreciate that the author is sharing his own insight of this philosophy via this most remarkable tale.
Finally it is romance made all the more
poignant by the integrity paid to the story conclusions.
Empire Under the Long White Clouds Is
Not a sophisticated read but an honest one handled with care and love. If you enjoyed the simplicity but detail of Huckleberry fin you will certainly enjoy this tale for sure.