The Burning Island

Jock Serong

Eliza Grayling, born in Sydney in 1798, when the colony itself was still an infant, has lived there all her thirty-two years. Too tall, too stern—too old, now—for marriage, she lives by herself, looking after her reclusive father Joshua, who has become overly fond of a drink. There is a shadow in his past, she knows.

Something obsessive. Something to do with a man who bested him thirty-three years ago. Then Srinivas, another figure from that dark past, offers Joshua Grayling the chance for a reckoning with his nemesis. The plan entails a sea voyage far to the south and an uncertain, possibly violent, outcome. Eliza is horrified: this is out of the question for an elderly man—insanity for a helpless drunkard who also happens to be blind.

Unable to dissuade her father from his mad quest, Eliza begins to understand she may be forced to go with him. Then she sees the ship they will be sailing on. And, in that instant, the voyage of the Moonbird becomes Eliza’s mission too.

‘One of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious crime writers.’

- NZ Listener on Preservation

‘Gripping and extremely accomplished.’ Australian Book Review

- Australian Book Review on Preservation


Jock Serong

Jock Serong’s novels have received the Ned Kelly Award for First Fiction, the Colin Roderick Award and the inaugural Staunch Prize (UK). He lives with his family on Victoria’s far west coast.

Text Publishing

Text Publishing is an independent, Melbourne-based publisher of literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction. Text has been awarded the ABIA Small Publisher of the Year three times and won the Leading Edge Books Small Publisher of the Year in 2018 and 2019.

The Burning Island