Through the stories within the Maloney family, Four Fires captures the essence of Australia itself, through the imagery of four fires that have forged Australians into who they are, giving them a national identity as well as driving forces that shaped their lives. These fires are passion, war, religion and fire itself.
In this audiobook, three generations span one hundred years with much of the story taking place from 1956 to 1964.
Mother to five children, Nancy Malone has had two children by Tommy Maloney, one of them out of wedlock. The others were by different fathers, so only one is legitimate.
Tommy Maloney, Nancy's husband, was a prisoner of war in WWII and ended up an alcoholic and a thief. Despite the problems, Nancy fiercely fought so that her children would live better lives than they started out with.
The book's narrative is the story of Nancy, Tommy and their children as they struggle to validate their own lives and make something of themselves.
Mole, who is Tommy's step-child, is closest to his father and learns a great deal from him about living in the bush and tracking fires. He follows in Tommy's footsteps. His war is Vietnam instead of WWII.
Daughter Sarah, like Nancy, has a child out of wedlock, but in true Aussie fashion, with her mother's spirit flowing through her veins, becomes one of the nation's first female doctors.
The novel follows the other children as they carve out admirable lives in a country where doing so can challenge the best.
Bryce Courtenay was born in 1933. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and spent most of his childhood in a small village in the mountains. He studied journalism in London, where he met his future wife, and moved to Australia.
Australia is Courtenay's adopted country, and he sets most of his novels there. His first novel, "The Power of One," was published in 1989 and became one of Australia's best-selling books as well as a popular motion picture.
The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character. Download and start listening now!