Vu Tran’s debut novel, Dragonfish, opens with a letter from a mother to her daughter, with whom she has lost contact. She recounts the first night of their escape from communist Vietnam, in a small, overcrowded boat, soon to be wracked by ‘thirst and hunger, sickness [and] death’.
Portland Jones’ debut novel is set in 1962, when a small contingent of Australian soldiers, the Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), was sent to Vietnam under the leadership of the CIA, to train South Vietnamese soldiers and villagers to fight the North Vietnamese Communists and Viet Cong insurgents.
Chasca Broderick has rushed home from her work with the War Crimes Tribunal in Sarajevo in 1998 to attend her grandfather’s funeral. Theodore Broderick had been a lawyer, an eminent legal academic, an adviser to presidents, a Supreme Court Justice, and a defence attorney at the Nuremberg Trials.
In the summer of 1952, Kip and his older brother, Tommy, find the entrance to a cave hidden in the hills above the family farm in the central north of Tasmania. It is now 2002 and middle-aged Kip has returned to the Mole Creek cave, from where 50 years ago he ran back to the farm without Tommy.