Alan Attwood was born in Scotland in 1957 and emigrated to Australia with his family in 1961. He has worked as an abalone packer, a dishwasher and a mail sorter but, since 1978, mainly as a journalist. From 1995 to 1998 he was the New York-based correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and more recently he has been a columnist for The Age. He was shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel Literary Award with Sinking Into Winter in 1990, and his novel Breathing Underwater was published in 1997. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three children.
Melbourne, 1871: John King is dying far from the deserts he traversed with the legendary Burke and Wills.
Ten years on from that fateful expedition, King is finally ready to tell his story. The young Irishman had already endured the horrors of the Indian Mutiny when he signed on with the erratic Burke to explore a land he knew little about. As one of the advance group who pushed on to the Gulf of Carpentaria - only to be abandoned later by the rest of their party - King was with Wills as he penned his final letter, and at Burke's side when he died. Then he was alone, the sole survivor, though barely alive when rescued by Alfred Howitt.
But Howitt is a man who cannot let things be, and now he seems more inquisitor than saviour. He wants to know what King knows before it's too late . .