Author(s): Steve Richards
In the cold English winter of 1863, Maggie Wallace waits for her friend at the East India Docks as the migrant ship Sebastopol prepares to leave for New Zealand. Her friend does not arrive and she boards the clipper alone to face an unknown future. On the voyage she meets John Marshall and George Braid, men of contrasting characters whose lives become intertwined with hers as they all struggle to find a place in the new colony. The migrants become involved in significant events of exploration, murder and heartbreaking loss, set against the backdrop of the Canterbury high country, the West Coast gold rush, and the search for alpine passes. Arthur’s Past blends real events and personal narrative into a story of discovery and brings to life a chapter of New Zealand’s colonial history.
Steve Richards lives near Nelson. He has published The Halfpenny Tree (1999), A Handful of Time (2002), and several short stories, including How I Shot Hamish, which won the Mapua Literary Festival Short Story competition 2010. He is a committee member of the Top of the South branch of NZSA.