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It’s the late 1800s and Mr Peacock, tired of running a hotel in Samoa, seizes an opportunity to start afresh by moving his New Zealand-born family to a remote, uninhabited island in the Kermadecs. Here, the autocratic husband and father believes they will create their own little kingdom, living off and trading the abundant crops he is assured will flourish in the subtropical climate. Dropped off on their new home by one of the few ships that ever pass by the rugged, volcanic island, they find the reality is very different. Life is harsh, challenging and, with no means of escape, all must work hard to ensure their survival. When help eventually arrives in the form of six young, strong, Kanaka men, sent to the island to work for Mr Peacock, it seems things will look up, but the disappearance of one of the Peacock children throws everyone off course and what follows is the realisation of more sinister undercurrents. The seed for this story was sown when the author learned of the Bell family, who settled on Raoul Island in 1878, and of the Niue Islanders who worked there. Richly descriptive, her narrative is a history lesson, a geography lesson, a survival story and, as it reaches its climax, disturbingly heart-pounding.