What an amazing book! Newzealanders write extremely well about their own landscape and this is a great example. You can see the mists, smell the bush and feel the dampness in your bones.
This is the story of Te Rauparaha, a native chief who was in the North and South islands of NZ in 1820'-1840's. He was a fierce warrior and proud of his tribe ( Ngati Toa) and his land. In the story he persuades the captain and crew of the Elizabeth to carry his warriors from Kapti Island to Banks Peninsula to engage in slaughter and conquest. He also guised his people through the North Island's desert like landscape to settle further south. The descriptions of the landscape endow it with almost supernatural powers.
There is a lot of early NZ history in this book but not in a history-lesson kind of way. The main portrayal and telling of Te Rauparaha's life and conquests is chilling and mesmerising.
Incredibly well written it is one of the best NZ novels I have read. Clayton is in his early twenties and a student, what amazing talent.
Can't wait to read more of his work.