‘I could not put this book down. Anna Westbrook has captured the seedy, soldier-strewn Sydney of the 1940s in extraordinarily vivid detail. Dark Fires Shall Burn crackles with tension, its transgressive characters enthralling in their ambiguity and flawed humanity.’
HANNAH KENT, AUTHOR OF BURIAL RITES
Inspired by the true events of an unsolved murder
Sydney, 1946. Eleven-year-old Frances and her best friend, Nancy, are growing up in the doglegged streets of Newtown and into a world they do not understand. It is the aftermath of World War II, and thousands of damaged soldiers have returned to their homes, bearing the psychological scars of battle with them.
Meanwhile, in the seediest part of the city, fifteen-year-old Templeton lives amid bootleggers, gangs, and prostitutes with his sister Annie and her friends. Threatened by Annie’s abusive lover, the nefarious Jack Tooth, they are forced to seek protection from a Darlinghurst madam: the once-powerful grog runner Dolly Jenkins. Soon, Templeton is drawn into an enigmatic underbelly of violence, sexuality, and secrets.
When Frances witnesses a shooting one night, these two worlds become inevitably intertwined. Templeton and the girls must grow up quickly and confront the darkness in the lives of those around them.
Dark Fires Shall Burn is a superbly atmospheric, powerful debut about justice, vengeance, and the power of grief.
‘A powerful and compelling story, Dark Fires Shall Burnbalances survival and salvation against the accommodations and betrayals of a shifting post-war world. With a voice that’s as imperative as it’s alive, Anna Westbrook conjures her 1940s Sydney with a visceral sensuality and a poet’s eye. A seductive tale that will draw you in and on, Dark Fires Shall Burn bristles with necessity and heartbreak.’ ASHLEY HAY, AUTHOR OF THE RAILWAYMAN’S WIFE
‘Dark, tender and gripping; this book sent my heart racing.’ METTE JAKOBSEN, AUTHOR OF THE VANISHING ACT