Author(s): Sarah Lark
?Lark recounts . . . the sometimes peaceful, sometimes uneasy relationship between the Maori natives and the pakeha ? the colonists. And the land, which can be rocky and formidable and also breathtakingly beautiful, is as much a character as anyone else." ? Historical Novel Society New Zealand, 1893: William Martyn is better educated and more cultivated than the other men breaking their backs searching for gold near Queenstown. William is the son of landed Irish nobility, and he comes to town ready to invest in the best equipment. On his search for supplies, he encounters spirited and beautiful young Elaine O?Keefe, who promptly falls in love with him. He is captivated by her charms until Kura, Elaine's half-Maori cousin, comes to visit. William succumbs at once to Kura's exotic beauty and free-spiritedness, and tension develops not only between the two cousins but also between the colonial settlers and their Maori neighbors.