|The Island of four Rivers (Scribe, 2006)|
So what has any of this to do with an island? Well, there is another story going on in this novel.
"Crabby" Davis, a Victorian explorer, has been left on the island of Sulupandasan. He befriends a local poetry-writing chieftain, battles an evil beast, makes an enemy of a witch-doctor and falls in love with a beautiful island maiden. There are four rivers on the island and from time to time each one dries up. Crabby goes on a quest to try and find the source of the four rivers. At the great lake a giant turtle is blocking the stream, causing the river to dry up. It might sound weird, but the two stories come together beautifully at the end when Henry needs to decide about turning off his father's life support system.
Despite the serious background to this book, there are plenty of lighter moments and even times that made me burst out laughing. I also loved the fact that my home town of Wonthaggi was mentioned in the text. Henry Davis is transformed in this story from a selfish bore to a risk-taking man in love. And the story of his fantastical ancestor Crabby, is both a tribute to and a gentle parody of, the old swashbuckling stories of colonial exploration.
A delightful story!