Peter has been a soldier, articled clerk to a solicitor, prawn trawler deckhand, builder's labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. He has lived and worked with Aboriginal people, Pacific Islander people, Vietnamese and Papuans and speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin. He now lives at Maclean, on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire service, and is interested in fishing and the vast opens spaces of outback Queensland.
Peter Watt’s new novel Eden is the sequel to 2002’s Papua. It picks up the story of Jack Kelly, Paul Mann and their sons as war is about to destroy the tranquillity of the Eden that was Papua New Guinea prior to World War II. Eden is more than an epic saga tracing the interweaving story of the Kelly and Mann families. Peter Watt describes the critical role played by the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and the Coast Watchers in preventing a successful invasion of Port Moresby and Australia by Japanese forces. He weaves factual incidents into the narrative in a way that pays a real tribute to the many unsung heroes of the NGVR and Coast Watchers. Eden is very readable. It is an ideal plane-journey novel that can be left and picked up later without losing the thread of an overly complicated plot. The book will appeal to those who enjoyed Papua. It can, however, be read alone, as it was by this reviewer. Staff can confidently recommend the book to customers who enjoy Wilbur Smith and even those customers looking for something a little more readable in the World War II history/military genre. Booksellers should ensure that they have stock of Papua shelved along with Eden for those add-on sales. Chris Bothams is franchise owner of Dymocks Carousel, WA Bookshop of the Year 2004 C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors