The Torch Melbourne, 1960: Mrs Blayney and her twelve-year-old son live in South Richmond. At least, they did, until their house burnt down. The prime suspect – one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh, also aged twelve – has mysteriously disappeared. Our narrator, the Blayney kid, sets off on a covert mission to find young Keith, whom he privately dubs ‘Flame Boy’, to save him from the small army of irate locals (not to mention his mother) who want to see him put away.
Flame Boy has not only made himself scarce, but he’s done so with a very important briefcase of secrets, which the kid is keen to get hold of for his grandfather, a shady character who has some secrets of his own. But the kid has got a lot going on: he’s also organising a new gang of kids; coping with the ups and downs of having a girlfriend (who likes to kiss – a lot); trying to avoid Keith’s dangerous prison-escapee father, Fergus Kavanagh, who is suspected of selling secrets to the Russians; and all the while wondering how he can get his hands on the most beautiful object in the world – the Melbourne Olympic Torch.
A madcap, brilliantly shambolic and irresistibly fun novel about loss, discovery and living life to the full, The Torch is a ripper of a ride.
The Cartographer: Melbourne, 1959: An 11-year-old boy witnesses a murder as he spies through the window of a strange house. God, whom he no longer counts as a friend, obviously has a pretty screwed-up sense of humour: just one year before, the boy had looked on helplessly as his twin brother, Tom, suffered a violent death.
Now, having been seen by the angry murderer, he is a kid on the run. He takes refuge in the dark drains and grimy tunnels beneath the city, transforming himself into a series of superheroes and creating a rather unreliable map to plot out places where he is unlikely to cross paths with the bogeyman.
Peter Twohig was born in Melbourne in 1948. He survived a Catholic education, and worked in the Australian Public Service until 1992. He then moved to Sydney to become a naturopath and homoeopath. He has degrees in philosophy and complementary medicine. The Cartographer is his first novel.
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