"We were halfway up the spur when we heard it. Homer and Gavin and I, just the three of us… I’d say there were fifteen shots in the first volley, evenly spaced, lasting about twenty-five seconds… All the way down the spur I’d heard the scattered shots, getting closer as I got closer, and all the way down I tried to think of reasonable explanations for them, and I couldn’t think of a single thing that made sense."
The town of Wirrawee is emerging from war, slowly, like a flower after a cold snap. Businesses are starting to reopen, the school has commenced classes once again, and local farmers are gradually repossessing their land. But it's not the same Australia as before the war. A new nation exists just a few miles away, a new border that separates Australia from its invaders. Or does it?
For Ellie Linton, being back on the farm with her parents is what makes the terrible things that happened during the war – the things she, Homer, Lee, Fi and the others had to do – all worthwhile. It's where she belongs.
But the war won't let her go. A devastating tragedy has shattered any hope she ever had to reclaim her life, or herself. It's a new kind of fight. And the enemy isn't always from the other side of the border.
About the Author
John Marsden is Australia's bestselling author for teenagers and a highly acclaimed picture book writer. His titles include Winter, The Head Book, The Boy You Brought Home and Millie.
John Marsden lives at the Tye Estate, just outside of Melbourne, where he opened a school called Candlebark in January 2006. The school currently has 52 students, ranging from Prep to Year 7.
Marsden's bestselling and award-winning Tomorrow series ended with the invasion of Australia resolved in a truce, and teen Ellie and her friends stopping their guerrilla fighting to return home. Ellie's story continues in a new series, which opens with Ellie's life in post-war Australia. It's surreal for Ellie, former outback rebel, to be an everyday teenager living with her parents and attending school in a country desperately striving for normalcy. Interestingly, the fragile status quo doesn't quite shatter when Ellie's parents are killed in a horrifying cross-border raid. Instead, Ellie is drawn into increasingly desperate measures to save her family farm and protect the near-feral orphan she adopted during the war. It's almost a relief when she turns from these everyday nightmares to the more comprehensible (to Ellie) terrors of underground combat. Ellie's grief is palpable and heartbreaking, and Marsden's always talented touch for constructing combat tensions is brilliantly balanced here with Ellie's need to live in a recovering world. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews)