With this his sixth novel, Jon Cleary uses his native Australia as a kind of counterpoint:- some of his main characters are Australians, all are assigned for one reason or another, to New Guinea, which is being run as an Australian protectorate under the U.N.; and each reacts in an individual way to his nostalgia, his resentment, his lack of identification with Australia. The central theme, however, revolves around the boss man, Klap Narvo, now admired, now hated and feared, rarely- then only by children-loved, and around his dedication to the area of New Guinea and the people in his charge. It is an absorbing tale, highlighted by incidents, adventures, tragedies- as Narvo wages his battle for fair treatment and understanding of the natives, despite their superstitions, their inter-tribe warn, their reversion to cannibalism and some of the other primitive lusts he had tried to cure. Into the scene comes Elisabeth, hoping for a resolution of five years' love and separation from Peter, who had escaped Czechoslovakia long before she could get out. But both have changed, and their dissolution has a profound effect on others in the tiny frontier post -- and not least on the hitherto impervious Narvo. A holding tale with emotional undertones that raise it out of the dead level it might have had.