Our June Star Author, Susan Brocker has just released a fantastic new book called The Drover’s Quest. It’s filled with Susan’s favourite things, including history and animals, and it’s set in New Zealand in the 1860s.
Rumour is flying around the west coast gold fields that Tom McGee has struck it rich and found a nugget of gold as big as a man’s fist. So no one is surprised when next his campsite is found wrecked and abandoned. Men have been killed for a lot less on the tough goldfields of 1860s New Zealand.
But one person is convinced Tom is not dead. His headstrong daughter, Charlotte. Solving the mystery is not her first task, though. First, she must get to the coast. A skilful horse rider, she disguises herself as a boy and joins a cattle drive across the Southern Alps. To survive the dangerous drive over Arthur’s Pass and to keep her identity hidden from the vicious trail boss, she’ll need the help of her dog, her horse, and her father’s friend, Tama. She knows she can do it – she has to – but what will she find? And will her new American friend, Joseph, help or hinder her quest?
Charlie is in for the ride of her life – and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
If you love stories set in the past, stories about animals or stories with lots of adventure then The Drover’s Quest is the book for you. The story starts in Christchurch and the characters travel over Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika on the West Coast. These are my favourite parts of our beautiful country and I’ve travelled the route they took many times so I could see it clearly in my head. It’s a route that is very quick and easy to travel today but was very rugged and dangerous in the 1860s. There is a very tense part in the book where the drovers are taking the cattle down the Otira Gorge (it had me on the edge of my seat).
I really liked the characters, especially Tama and Joseph who bring different cultures into the story, and Scar because I couldn’t figure out whether he was good or bad. The animals are also important characters in the story and they are incredibly loyal to their masters.