Dark Fires Shall Burn is a superbly atmospheric, powerful debut about justice, vengeance, and the power of grief.
Anna Westbrook is a Sydney-based writer and critic. She holds a PhD in creative writing and lectures at New York University Sydney. She was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award at the age of twenty-one, and has also been a recipient of an Australian Society of Authors mentorship (where she worked with Fiona McGregor, author of Indelible Ink) and an Australian Poetry Poet in Residence award. Her work appears in publications in Australia, the United States, and France. Dark Fires Shall Burn is her first novel.
'I could not put this book down. Anna Westbrook has captured the seedy, soldier-strewn Sydney of the 1940s in extraordinarily vivid detail. Dark Fires Shall Burn crackles with tension, its transgressive characters enthralling in their ambiguity and flawed humanity.' - Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites;'A powerful and compelling story, Dark Fires Shall Burn balances survival and salvation against the accommodations and betrayals of a shifting post-war world. With a voice that's as imperative as it's alive, Anna Westbrook conjures her 1940s Sydney with a visceral sensuality and a poet's eye. A seductive tale that will draw you in and on, Dark Fires Shall Burn bristles with necessity and heartbreak.' - Ashley Hay, author of The Railwayman's Wife;'Sydney in the late 1940s, a real unsolved murder, and a delightful cast of colourful characters - Anna Westbrook has plucked this story of hardship, murder, and friendship from history and given it glorious new life. The plot throbs with unsettling dark notes, and above this, Westbrook's sentences soar with a musical grace. All together the elements add up to a virtuosic debut that deserves a standing ovation.' - Krissy Kneen;'Vividly brings to life the wretchedness of postwar Sydney ... Westbrook's rendering of the period has an air of authenticity I have rarely found in contemporary novels, thanks in part to her shrewd use of recognisably Aussie vernacular. But what I loved most was how convincingly Westbrook depicts the precarious nature of women's lives and livelihoods, and their desperate fight for some level of control - often at great personal cost.' - Good Reading;'Anna Westbrook delves into Sydney's seedy underbelly for this story, based on a real crime, set in 1946 ... Westbrook has created an atmospheric tale of post-war life, full of sly grog, war-damaged soldiers and prostitutes ... Verdict: dark and gripping.' - Herald Sun;'With her marvellously suggestive title, Anna Westbrook takes us to a dramatic era in recent Australian history. The time is 1946 and the place is Sydney's Newtown, where a critical housing shortage, impoverishment, post-war trauma and lawlessness have created a ferment of chaos and danger ... Dark Fires Shall Burn reminds us just how close the past is to our present.' - Sydney Morning Herald;'Dark, tender and gripping; this book sent my heart racing.' - Mette Jakobsen, author of The Vanishing Act;'Based on the true events of a local, unsolved murder, Dark Fires Shall Burn is an atmospheric literary crime novel ... a terrific read to be enjoyed by crime, literary and history buffs alike.' - Better Read Than Dead;'Anna Westbrook delves into Sydney's seedy underbelly ... Templeton, in particular, is heartbreaking ... Despite the lurid subject matter, which made it a sensational crime in the newspapers of the day, Westbrook avoids taking an exploitative approach.' - Daily Telegraph