Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Incredible Steam-Driven Adventures of Riverboat Bill by Cliff Green

This book is by famous author, Cliff Green, who wrote the big seller, Picnic at Hanging Rock. It has a large cast of characters, is set primarily of the Murray River and moves quickly through from one adventure to another. Riverboat Bill has lost his ferry, is destitute and, has just been unceremoniously thrown off another riverboat called The Sentinel skippered by the ruthless Barnacle Blowall. A young lad, Dave, rescues him from the river and together they restore an old steamer called  the Mystery. The steamer comes with its very own bunyip who turns out to be a fire-making bunyip who is quickly exploited to power the boat.  Harry, an Australian-Chinese cook leaves his miserably job in a cafe  to join the crew along with Fred Clinker an engine driver who is  desperate to escape his domineering wife. All is progressing reasonably smoothly, apart from them having an illegal bunyip on board, when a bush ranger, Black Ben commandeers the steamer to use for his own dastardly deeds and gain. I must admit I had to push my through this book as it was just a bit convoluted and ridiculous and is not really my cup of tea. However, it does have an interesting ending and some children may well enjoy this riverside rigmarole.

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