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Heartland is a collection of four novellas connected by the theme of life in the Australian outback. This collection includes:
Somewhere Far from Iris
Clinically depressed Shane Morris is trying to learn how to cope with his condition and find balance within the turmoil of his mind. He embarks on a mission to reconstruct himself by going back to his roots in the Australian outback town of his childhood. In Iris, this man who thinks he is nothing discovers at its extreme, life has two poles, the tender and the brutal. In the fires of the worst and best expressions of man, Shane learns he's far from nothing and just where he fits into humanity's broad spectrum.
The Light at the Bottom of the Garden
A lovely English governess goes missing from the homestead on a local cattle station in the Australian outback. The local people think the mysterious Min Min light has something to do with her disappearance. Senior Police Constable Mick Creedy doesn’t buy into paranormal explanations and is exploring foul play. However, when the young woman’s mother, Eveling, arrives from England wanting a full investigation, including the possibility of a paranormal event, Mick needs to balance his methods with a grieving parent’s needs. Eveling’s inclinations further complicate matters as they might lead her into a danger Mick does not yet understand. Pressure mounts as unexpected feelings for the victim’s mother raise the stakes in this case that seems to have no leads.
A disfigured and abused boy, Dexter Knight grows to manhood with only his own mind as a constructive guide for how to live and how to be a man. When he loses his childhood love to cancer, he pulls up stakes and moves to the west Queensland town of Brighton. Dexter makes a place for himself there, but remains a lonely outsider on the fringes of society until a bitter and dangerous industrial dispute draws battle lines through the community.
Strong-willed and independent Maree Waldon is one of the few townspeople who always took the time to talk to Dexter. Her boyfriend flees, but Maree sticks with family and friends.
Escalating stakes prove the true mettle of all. Where will "the man without a face" and the young woman with a big heart stand at the end of this bitter war?
Left of the Rising Sun
Ten-year-old Buck Brown is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the interior of Australia's Northern Territory. Watching the plane sink into the murky water of a remote outback billabong, he remembers the pilot saying they had been flying off-course for hours. Search parties will never find Buck, he decides. There is only one way out, to walk several hundred kilometres home.
With grim resolve, Buck sets out on a trek that will require resolve, knowledge, and ingenuity, a journey that will test his strength to the limit. He will be a participant in the elemental struggle for life and survival.
Buck’s gruelling trial will also teach him surprising lessons about friendship and loyalty. If he is successful it will be a trek that leads not only back to his family and home but also to a maturity not always achieved in a full lifetime.