Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland

First Line: We were lucky at first.
Adrian Hyland's Kinglake-350 is the riveting account of Black Saturday, February 7, 2009-- the day the most devastating wildfire in the country's history swept through "the great fire triangle of south-eastern Australia... the most fire-prone location on Earth."

Hyland is a master craftsman who knows how to tell a tale. I became a fan of his mysteries Moonlight Downs and Gunshot Road and soon learned to get my hands on anything he's written. 
Hyland brings his considerable skill in fiction to Kinglake-350. I am no stranger to the subject of this book. Arizona has had more than its share of devastating wildfires, but I couldn't believe the sheer amount of information in the pages of this book. (And they weren't presented as dry, yawn-inducing facts.) Caught in your house during a wildfire? Don't shelter in the bathroom. Dirt can, and does, catch fire. Yes, there is such a thing as black rain. Hyland also goes into climate change, global warming, weather patterns, and government agencies trying to shift blame. I can see your eyes start to glaze over with those last topics, but this man weaves all that into the narrative in such a way that my interest never flagged. 

However, the backbone and the towering strength of Kinglake-350 lies in the people that devastating fire touched. There were many heroes that day; Acting Sergeant Roger Wood was only one of them. I think one of the vignettes that I remember best was the woman who, trying to keep the fire from destroying buildings, took pity on a shocked and staggering kangaroo, giving it a cooling shower with her hose. It's these personal details that made my heart beat faster. That made me try to turn the pages as fast as the fire was consuming everything in its path. 

Kinglake-350 is absolutely marvelous, and one of the best books I've read this year. Adrian Hyland has done it again.

Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland
eISBN: 9781921834738
The Text Publishing Company © 2011
eBook, 272 pages
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. Isn't Hyland a gifted writer, Cathy?! I just knew you'd love this when I saw it on your 'currently reading' list. What a powerful story, and he puts the reader right there among the people. He does that with his Emily Tempest novels, too (I'm still not at ALL happy that there were only two of those!). At any rate, I am glad you liked this as well as you did.

    1. Now that you mention it, I'm not at all happy about Emily Tempest's disappearance either!

  2. I'm often surprised that wildfires don't seem to get as much attention in books, fiction or non, as other topics do. I'm definitely interested in this one.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!