Sweet Water Stolen Land is intriguing. Completely fictional with elements of true history interwoven, the book delves immediately into the issues of black resettlement and the church's involvement in removing Indigenous people from their traditional lands for the purposes of rural development.

Very cleverly though, McLaren has taken what could have been seen as a tired and political tirade and turned it into an exciting and thrilling novel. German missionary couple Karl and Gudrun Maresch see the outback as a new start. An exciting opportunity to spread the "good word" of the Lutheran Church to the disenfranchised indigenous population of Coonabarabran.

For traditional Kamilaroi people like Ginny and Wollumbuy, it too seems like a good idea. A sanctuary from greed and violence as frontier life forces them from their traditional homelands. But when a mysterious crop of deaths starts to take the lives of nearby white settler families, the finger of evidence is pointed squarely at the "natives".

The inevitable clash of destinies between white and black reaches a tumultuous conclusion that threatens the lives of everyone involved.


Philip McLaren

Philip Ian McLaren was born in Redfern, Australia, one of seven children, a descendant of the Kamilaroi people from the Warrumbungle Mountain region in northwestern New South Wales. His first novel, Sweet Water, Stolen Land, won the 1992 David Unaipon Award.

Country of Origin
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