'The miserable little group sat huddled together on the floorboards, waist deep in freezing water, watching over the sides as the huge breakers began to rise up around them again.
The men on the oars continued to row until a large swell lifted the boat and it began to surf toward the beach. Samuel leaned hard on the steering oar, keeping the nose of the craft pointed directly toward the beach as it raced along on the boiling white face of the breaker. David sat in shock. Trapped in the midst of a nightmare that he couldn’t wake up from. He hid his face in Lizzie Morgan’s bosom trying to block out the deafening roar of the wind and the waves and the frightened screams of the survivors. It seemed the nightmare was never going to end, when suddenly there was a thump, as the little boat went sliding up the beach, sending its occupants sprawling on top of one another.'
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Wairata. (pronounced Why-raa-ta.) An historical novel set in New Zealand in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It follows the life of a young Scottish immigrant who finds himself growing up in a back country town at a time when the young nation is coming of age. He must find his way through the many joys and tragedies that life throws at him, including war and hardship, love and loss, to discover what it really means to be a man.
He discovers that some things are not always what they at first seem to be. That hardship can lead to blessings in disguise, and that love can be found in the most unexpected places.
He unwittingly becomes involved in the bitter South African war (Boer War) and experiences both the good and evil of human nature. And in the end leaves the reader with the knowledge that everyone, no matter how insignificant, has a story to tell.