Peter Watt has spent time as a soldier, articled clerk, prawn trawler deckhand, builder's labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and advisor to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. He has lived and worked with Aborigines, Islanders, Vietnamese and Papua New Guineans and he speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin. Good friends, fine fishing and the vast open spaces of outback Queensland are his main interests in life.
Peter Watt’s new novel Eden is the sequel to 2002’s Papua. It picks up the story of Jack Kelly, Paul Mann and their sons as war is about to destroy the tranquillity of the Eden that was Papua New Guinea prior to World War II. Eden is more than an epic saga tracing the interweaving story of the Kelly and Mann families. Peter Watt describes the critical role played by the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and the Coast Watchers in preventing a successful invasion of Port Moresby and Australia by Japanese forces. He weaves factual incidents into the narrative in a way that pays a real tribute to the many unsung heroes of the NGVR and Coast Watchers. Eden is very readable. It is an ideal plane-journey novel that can be left and picked up later without losing the thread of an overly complicated plot. The book will appeal to those who enjoyed Papua. It can, however, be read alone, as it was by this reviewer. Staff can confidently recommend the book to customers who enjoy Wilbur Smith and even those customers looking for something a little more readable in the World War II history/military genre. Booksellers should ensure that they have stock of Papua shelved along with Eden for those add-on sales. Chris Bothams is franchise owner of Dymocks Carousel, WA Bookshop of the Year 2004 C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors