Mascot, Sydney and two boys grow to manhood in the depression and the war, bitter antagonists in love, law, religion and politics. One, an ascetic, outwardly conservative lawyer, is driven by deep passions that he tries but fails to suppress. He becomes chief justice of Australia. The other, a flamboyant, populist, Labor politician, also aspires to and reaches the heights of his profession.
The three women, central to their lives and rivalries, add erotic drama to this blockbuster that covers half a century of Australian politics. The self-righteous, political meddling by an Irish Sydney newspaper magnate in favour of the Liberal Party and by the Catholic Church in favour of the anticommunist Labor Party ensure a dynamic background of political power-struggles. There are dramatised insights into the Petrov spy commission, ASIO, the eras of Dr. Evatt and Prime Minister Menzies and an international loan scandal.
Ian Callinan is one of the very few Australian authors writing knowledgeable and sophisticated modern fiction about Australian people of affairs and means. Each of his books finishes with a momentous and thought-provoking impact. He has a considerable published oeuvre including plays produced in Brisbane, Australia, Brazilian Blue, The Cellophane Ceiling and The Acquisition, reviews of stories, biographies and television, short stories and occasional pieces. This is to say nothing of his vast output of legal writing. He is, and has been since 1998, one of the seven justices of the High Court of Australia. Ian Callinan lives in Brisbane with his wife and two cattle dogs.