Attic Whispers from the Blue Mountains [April 2024 Edition]

Attic Whispers from the Blue Mountains [April 2024 Edition]


Greetings from my Attic!

Thank you for your encouraging feedback regarding the imminent release of The Bone Scraper Legacy. Greatly appreciated! Your responses have made it clear that you would like to learn more about the novella. No problem!

Here are a few more tasty preview morsels to ignite your curiosity and anticipation. The exciting storyline of the novella is brimming with action, exotic locations, mystery, and colourful characters who will provide fascinating insight into some hidden corners of history I know you will find irresistible.


Let’s begin with the NOTE from the AUTHOR


‘Every piece of literature begins with a spark, or two, of inspiration. Often these sparks are unexpected and stored away – sometimes for years – in the hidden recesses of our memory before they return and ignite creativity. This was definitely what happened here. 

I remember both, the days, and the occasions well. New Zealand is one of my favourite destinations I visit often, mainly for long hikes through the spectacular mountain wilderness and rainforests on the South Island to take some time out and recuperate after a long and exhausting period of writing and research.

 On this occasion, I spent a few days in Auckland and visited the Auckland Art Gallery because there was a special exhibition I wanted to see: the work of Charles Goldie (1870 – 1947) – one of New Zealand’s most prominent painters best known for his portrayal of Māori dignitaries – was on show. 

As soon as I set eyes on the portraits, I was overwhelmed by the emotional impact of the spectacular paintings. One in particular stood out: a stunning portrait of Te Ao Te Rangi Wharepu (1811 – 1910), a Waikato Warrior of the Ngati Mahuta Tribe.

What was particularly impressive about the warrior’s face was his moko, the intricate full facial tattoo that was one of the hallmarks of Goldie’s work.

The second spark of inspiration came from a photograph I had come across several years later during research for one of my books.

The photograph in question was taken in 1895 and showed Major General Horatio Robley with his macabre collection of Mokomokai – mummified, tattooed Māori heads – traded for muskets during the nineteenth-century New Zealand Wars.

The third spark was a book by the Greek-Armenian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff (1866 –1949) – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson – one of the most extraordinary and complex books I’ve ever read which, according to Martin Seymor-Smith, is one of the most influential books ever written.


The fascinating history surrounding the Mokomokai and their bizarre trade became the inspiration for the central storyline, and the Goldie portrait of the Waikato Warrior inspired the warrior-chief Parema Te Pahau, a principal character in the novella. 

Some of the esoteric ideas expressed in Gurdjieff’s book have been used to shape Tristan, one of the key characters in the Jack Rogan Mysteries Series.

Because accuracy – especially of historical and cultural material – is paramount, Māori history and customs have been meticulously researched in libraries, museums, and galleries both in Australia, and New Zealand, and have, to the best of my ability, been accurately, and respectfully, presented.’

*****End of Note from the Author*****

Publication Date: May 15, 2024

The opening scene in the Prologue, is a good example:


The Battle of Wharekauri:  10 October 1840

‘Ignoring the ominous storm clouds approaching from the north, Parema Te Pahau kept staring out to sea; the expression on his face stern, his stance defiant. He was preparing himself for what he knew would be a fateful day not only for himself but also for his iwi, his tribe. As he lifted his face to greet the sun rising hesitantly out of the morning mist, the sun’s first rays illuminated his striking Pukanohi, his full-face tattoo, giving his handsome, yet frightening features an almost surreal glow.


The Māori warriors standing respectfully behind him watched in awe as their chief raised his arms and began to chant. He was addressing Tumatauenga, the god of war, asking for victory. As a revered Tohunga Matakite not only could Te Pahau foretell the future, he could communicate with the gods.

Even in his twilight years, he was an imposing figure, his long hair tied into a traditional knot on top of the head accentuating his striking moko. Tall, powerfully built, with massive arms and legs like tree trunks, his prowess on the battlefield was legendary, and his cunning battle tactics had led his iwi to victory on many occasions. 


Five years earlier, Te Pahau had persuaded his iwi, Ngāti Mutunga, and their allies, Ngāti Tama, to leave their embattled territory near Wellington and find a new home on Wharekauri, the Chatham Islands.

Conquering and enslaving the docile Moriori, the local natives, had been spectacularly successful, further enhancing Parema Te Pahau’s reputation as an outstanding leader and visionary who had the ear of the gods.

However, squabbles over land and slaves between Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama developed over the years, with younger warriors asserting themselves in the hope of becoming leaders, making it increasingly difficult for Te Pahau to assert his authority. 


Matters came to a head when one of his sons was ambushed and killed during a visit to an Ngāti Tama marae to resolve a dispute involving a Moriori slave girl. This soon resulted in a declaration of war between the two tribes who had once been allies and friends. 

 Te Pahau looked across the beach to where the Ngāti Tama war party was assembling and making preparations to perform the haka to intimidate their enemy. This was a traditional war dance with aggressive gestures to instil fear in the enemy and lift morale in the kaitoa, the warriors, about to go into battle.


 Choosing the beach for the showdown had been a shrewd tactical move by Te Pahau who knew just how important footwork was in hand-to-hand combat with traditional weapons. He had carefully trained his warriors to become proficient in fighting on sand, well aware that this would give them the upper hand when the time came.


Slowly, Te Pahau raised his massive taiaha, his preferred close-quarters combat weapon, and turned to face the men standing behind him. A long staff made out of whalebone, the taiaha was used for stabbing thrusts and short, cutting strikes. In the hands of an experienced fighter like Te Pahau whose almost acrobatic footwork made this weapon into an awesome, deadly force, the taiaha became a devastating weapon that had killed many an enemy on the battlefield.

‘You know what to do,’ said Te Pahau. ‘Tuamatenga will grant us victory if you show courage.’

With that, Te Pahau pointed his taiaha at the opposing war party performing the haka and began to jog towards them, his facial expression intimidating and fierce, his shrill war cry bloodcurdling.’

*****End of Prologue*****

I’m sure you would like to know what happens next; right? Well, you can; soon. As I’ve mentioned in my previous email, the book is almost ready for publication, and we are planning to release it towards the middle of May at the latest. However, the good news is that you don’t have to wait that long because the book is available for pre-order on Amazon right now for a special introductory price of only .99 cents US (limited time only!), which is exceptional value. 

As most of you would be aware, pre-orders underpin a new book’s ranking on Amazon which in turn has a direct bearing on how the new book is received and promoted.

Many of you have of course already pre-ordered, but if for some reason you haven’t as yet, this is your chance to support our ranking. The small effort and expense can pay huge dividends for our upcoming launch. So please, don’t wait, but place your pre-order now by following the link below.

Publication Date: May 15, 2024

Publishing a new book is a team effort, and as a valued member of my inner circle of readers, you can make a difference.


Thank you for your support.

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