26 February 2012

Review: A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN, Sulari Gentil

  • first published Pantera Press 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-9807418-1-0
  • 349 pages
  • Source: my local library
  • #1 in the Rowland Sinclair series
Synopsis (Pantera Press)

In Australia’s 1930s, the Sinclair name is respectable and influential, yet the youngest son Rowland - an artist - has a talent for scandal.
Even with the unemployed lining the streets, Rowland lives in a sheltered world... of wealth, culture & impeccable tailoring with the family fortune indulging his artistic passions & friends… a poet, a painter & a brazen sculptress.
Mounting political tensions fuelled by the Great Depression take Australia to the brink of revolution. Rowland Sinclair is indifferent to the politics… until a brutal murder exposes an extraordinary & treasonous conspiracy.

My take

As the 21st century rolls on, and events that made us in the 19th and 20th get further away, Australians are in desperate need of good story tellers whose fictions are firmly embedded in an authentically drawn past. Last year Geoff McGeachin did it for me with THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL set in an Australia recovering from World War II, and now comes Sulari Gentill's series featuring artist and gentleman Rowland Sinclair, set in the period leading up to that war.

A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN is #1 in the series, and now there are two more for me to track down, A DECLINE IN PROPHETS, and MILES OFF COURSE.

Gentill does a wonderful job of embedding her fictional protagonist Rowland Sinclair into authentic historical detail: Australia in the Great Depression; the Premier of New South Wales seeking to distract the people by building a great bridge across Sydney Harbour; and widely disparate political groups who want to roll time back to the 19th century, or to adopt Communism, or to install Fascism.

Coming from a wealthy landed family Rowly Sinclair is caught in a cleft stick between the old values and his friends who have joined the Reds. And then his uncle Rowland Sinclair is murdered and Rowly's quest to find the culprits takes him into the third group.

This was an excellent read: well constructed plot, vividly drawn characters, and reminders of the historical events that occupied Australia's "premier state" in the early 1930s.

My rating: 5.0

Other sites to check:

2 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this. And that sense of the need for storytellers to remind us of the past isn't just true for Australia...

Sarah said...

Sounds like a great book - I'm adding it to my list

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