"More than five years on from that fateful morning when I first spoke to Charles Cranston, the man who fell down a ravine and changed my life, the report on the 'Ondwa' site is still locked away in a filing cabinet somewhere. Despite our going to great pains to make it as scientific and objective as possible - no ghosts and spirits and no psychic phenomena - it didn't go down well. Too many people didn't want to know; it was too hard to swallow, it rocked too many boats and upset too many theories." This second novel by New Zealand writer, Donald Armstrong, explores the idea, suggested by recent rat bone research, that people lived here before the great Polynesian migrations of around the twelfth century - people who, given the unstable nature of the land, disappeared leaving little or no trace. "Suddenly there was an earsplitting crack, like five times five spears of white light hitting the earth and a huge boulder split off the side of Yudri's Rock and crashed into the back of the Spirit Dwelling, making the whole roof bounce up and down on the walls. Then momentarily the rolling stopped and then there came two enormous jolts, and then another and another - and then nothing."
Donald Armstrong was brought up in the port city of Wellington New Zealand, in a family involved with the building and sailing of small craft over many years. At that time he had no visions of becoming a writer. It was not until later life, when he moved north to Whangarei that his writing career began; his historical adventure novel, The Four Bad Company, about the lives of four sea-faring "brothers" was published by Papawai Press in 2008. Donald Armstrong's second novel explores the idea that Maori were not the first to discover and settle the land of the long white cloud, and as with his first novel, he has undertaken research across a number of fields to inform his fictional account of the characters in his story.