Terra Nullius, written by Claire G Coleman, is amazing and I don’t want to give away the story!
Following the Natives and the Settlers of Australia, and the devastation of the Natives as their rights, country, communities and beliefs are destroyed, their fights, families torn apart. The story follows Jacky, running from the place where he is being forced into slavery and a life without his family and beliefs. He runs and runs through desert Australia, being chased by the settlers, as they try to ‘tame the savages’ and teach them how to live ‘respectfully’.
The book’s story is a sad reflection of the history of Australia and the invasion of its country and beliefs. Only it’s not a tale of the history of Australia, though the telling of the story is parallel to this. Terra Nullius is a fictional story of another Australia, one where The Settlers are of a different kind, a completely different kind.
Terra Nullius is written so well. The shift from what we know of the Invasion of Australia by the English, to the actual story where the invaders are from another planet happens halfway through the story and is seamless. The first half is a sad read of Jacky running through desert Australia, away from the Settlers who want to re-educate and control him. Images of desert Australia, its sparseness, isolation and expanse are so descriptive. Characters such as the cruel nuns who terrorise and torture the Native kids, the inspector, sent to see if the country is being settled appropriately and within the law and the Devil, who sits in his office rejecting Native claims, the troopers, hunting Jacky and fellow runaways are all well developed and familiar – until the middle of the book when it slides into the future and each character is further developed and explored.
This is my book of they year. Claire G Coleman’s style is flawless and will appeal to so many readers – sci-fi, historians and those who like a saga.