Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth – Review.

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About the Book

One scorching day in Australia deserted outback, Tommy McBride and his brother Billy return home to discover that their parents have been brutally murdered.

Distraught and desperate for revenge, the young men set out in search of the killers. But the year is 1885, and the only man who can help them is the cunning and ruthless John Sullivan wealthy landowner and their father’s former employer.

Rallying a posse of men, Sullivan defers to the deadly Inspector Noone and his Queensland Native Police an infamous arm of colonial power whose sole purpose is the dispersal of Indigenous Australians in protection of settler rights. The retribution that follows will leave a lasting scar on the colony and the country it later becomes. It will also haunt Tommy for the rest of his life.

Set against Australia s stunningly harsh landscapes, Only Killers and Thieves is a compelling, devastating novel about cruelty and survival, injustice and honour and about two brothers united in grief, then forever torn apart.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I read a lot of historical fiction but this is the first that I have read that is set in Australia and also the one with the biggest impact. It is set in Queensland in 1885 at a troubling time with the white settlers determined to remove the Indigenous Australians from the land that they want for their own. I had heard of the horrific events that had happened but I had never heard of the role that the Native Police played.
It is a fascinating book to read, often upsetting, often sickening but it’s also humbling and shows the different ways of coping with grief. Both Tommy and Billy cope in different ways,Billy is determined to be just like the men they are with, and he wants to prove himself and Tommy is determined not to be.
There is some violence, you couldn’t really expect anything else with a book like this, but it’s almost like being in the background. It does happen, sometimes with graphic descriptions, but most of the novel focuses on the increasing differences between the two brothers and the volatile situation in the group. There are more horrible people than nice ones, some could show compassion and understanding but then they would show their true colours in other ways. The second part of the novel which is only short shows that attitudes don’t really change but there was a chance to make amends.
It is an important piece of fiction, brilliantly written with plenty of compassion and understanding. Highly recommended and I’m sure it will be one of my top books for 2018.

One Reply to “Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth – Review.”

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