'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 4 September 2023

Review: The Map of William

It is Western Australia, 1909.

William is one of six children. At fifteen, he is indentured to a well-known architect. 

The placement is months away and it comes as a surprise when his father, a prominent surveyor examining land and mapping water sources, announces that William will accompany him on his next expedition.

This expedition will become a rite of passage for the inexperienced boy, who for months will be amongst older men, riding through the roughest country fraught with threats and dangers.

William doesn’t know what to expect, but is excited by the prospect. 

With the trust of a loving father and his mother’s words repeating in his mind, he sets out on a journey filled with life experiences and challenges,

undertaken with the measure of his conscience. He will return enriched and transformed by the friendship, sense of justice, kindness, and camaraderie of his companions.

I loved this well-crafted novel, rich in Australian history, that juxtaposes William’s life with the mapping of the country in which the characters travel. Full of warmth, it also exposes the savage cruelty white men perpetrated against the natives, on whom a bounty was set, dead or alive.

Beautifully presented, the superb innuendo that replaces a hundred words and flavours every page, is accompanied by a delicious flow of turn-of-the-century language. Words lost have been found again, and images of how people thought and acted come across clearly.

Characters with morals and those without, cross swords while an enjoyable underlying  humour exists throughout the narrative - even in the most sensitive situations.

I adored the quotes repeated in William’s mind of his mother’s words that guide him through difficult decisions. 

The lives of the people on this journey are a collection of stories; entertaining, funny, sad, and heartbreaking.

An outstanding book that will give great pleasure to every reader. This superb novel is inspired by the author’s life.

Title: The Map of William
Author: Michael Thomas
Publisher: Fremantle Press, $32.99
Publication Date: 30 May 2023
Format Paperback
ISBN: 9781780992187
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult