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  • An excellent read!

    I received a free electronic copy of this excellent historical novel on November 15, 2019, from Netgalley, Catherine Jinks, and Text Publishing. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my personal, honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to recommend Catherine Jinks as an author to follow to friends and family. We are in New South Wales in the 1840s with a young Englishman, a shepherd named Tom Clay and a couple of his dogs, Gyp, a black and white Scotch collie, and Pedlar, a yellow mongrel. Tom considers these dogs all the family he has left. NSW is pretty bleak and wild - Tom and his fellow shepherds are hired to protect their flock of sheep from native Blacks, wild dogs, and blackguards. He has a couple of people he can actually depend on in NSW - Mr. Barrett, owner of the land, the flock, and the shepherd's hut they sleep in when it's not their turn sleeping in the watch-box. Fellow shepherd Joe Humble seems to be an honorable man. Tom also trusts Rowdy, a fairly new addition to the group of shepherds of Mr. Barrett sheep. Except for the periodic deliveries of a cartload of supplies, the shepherds stay in the brush with their flock which they protect and move as the grass becomes grazed down. In the 1840s a lot of the residents of NSW were prisoners shipped out of England. Caught poaching in his early teens, Tom was a boy who lost his mother in his youth, son of a hanged poacher, brother of a shot poacher. Many of the prisoners sent out to Australia and New South Wales were very much more of a threat than a teenaged poacher. And many of them have fallen through the cracks and are now a threat to all the honest settlers of these South Pacific Island nations. Tom is learning to recognize them. That may save his life. And a lesson learned the hard way - only animals are completely trustworthy. They also only have one life to give... Not good odds for Tom's survival.

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