Children of Clun

Children of Clun

Robert Nicholls

Biology / Neuroscience / Science

1421. In England's remote Welsh Borderlands, a future queen of Scotland would learn the true meaning of sacrifice and the feared name of Owain Glyndwr, the Welsh warrior-prince, would be whispered abroad one last time; all for the saving of the children of Clun.Now that Carmen has almost recovered from her injuries caused by a car accident, Carmen and Ulrike can begin and enjoy their relationship in earnest. On the occasion of Carmen’s mother’s birthday, Ulrike is about to meet Carmen’s family for the first time, including Carmen’s brother José, whose reckless driving, in Ulrike’s opinion, landed Carmen in hospital. Both women are rather apprehensive about this meeting, however, the afternoon with the family yields some unexpected results for both of them.Taxi - Trials is the second book in the Taxi series.
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Connections

Connections

Robert Nicholls

Biology / Neuroscience / Science

"In (Tower Zero) as in his other stories, Nicholls introduces the drug of compulsion - a prescription you cannot get over the counter." (Bruce Pascoe, Editor, 'Australian Short Stories' No. 53). Fifteen short stories to remind us that no life, whether rough or fastidious, is without its extraordinary moments.Piper Justice, 38 years old with gorgeous green eyes and stunning black hair, is miserable. She is supposed to be on holidays, her basement has just flooded and she is feeling unusually lonely and lost.Rob Mossman, 41 years old with a great physique and a gentle nature, is in mourning. He is now a single parent to his 5-year-old daughter Jennie, as his wife Sandra was killed in an accident a year ago. Piper needs a temporary place to live, Rob has a rental unit in his own house. They are both seeking love but, as life will have it, many obstacles block their route to a full relationship. This is part one in a three-part series that sees Piper's pride and mistrust give way to love.
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Neville the Less

Neville the Less

Robert Nicholls

Biology / Neuroscience / Science

When his father returns from military service in the Afghan war zone, Neville finds himself confronted by a man he no longer knows. Withdrawn, uncommunicative and subject to horrifying nightmares, the father has become The Quiet Man in whom, Neville fears, a dreadful secret may lie hidden.Six year old Neville the Less is lord of the small things in a safe and familiar Australian neighbourhood. He knows the ‘countries’ of which it’s comprised, he knows the people who conduct its business and the places from which to observe its doings. He knows it to be a place in which all the roles are established, all the problems are small and all the solutions the responsibility of adults. When his father returns, heroically, from military service in the Afghan war zone, however, Neville finds himself confronted by a man he no longer knows. Withdrawn, uncommunicative and subject to horrifying nightmares, the father has become a Quiet Man in whom, Neville fears, a dreadful secret may lie hidden. What that secret could be is a question that draws Neville to ponder what it takes to ‘make’ both a hero and a war. “Nothing for you to worry about,” his mother tells him. “War could never happen here and you will never be a soldier.” The half-memories of Neville’s best friend and back-door neighbour say otherwise. Afsoon is the only surviving child of Hazaran refugees, newly resettled in Australia. Like the Quiet Man, she displays full-blown symptoms of post traumatic stress, in her case, presenting as a consuming obsession with the threat of violence. Imagining that her family’s persecutors have followed them to Australia and are masquerading as ordinary neighbours (one of whom may be the Quiet Man), she develops a fixated need to expose those who are enemies and, if need be, eliminate them. Neville finds himself torn. Should he believe his determinedly hopeful mother or his much abused friend? And which of those is most likely to rescue his almost catatonic father from whatever nightmare assails him? ‘Neville the Less’ is firstly a tale about the pervasiveness of casual prejudice, obstinate insensitivity and the initiatives that arise from fear. It’s also about the alacrity with which violence is introduced into our society and it is a reminder that post traumatic stress is a condition that can claim victims far beyond its primary sufferers. It’s also an entertaining glimpse into the ways children might imagine themselves the protectors of their adults.
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Sugar Town

Sugar Town

Robert Nicholls

Biology / Neuroscience / Science

A family is decimated in the aftermath of a terrible crime and no voice is raised in protest. Can a town that prides itself on its sense of community survive without the promise of justice? In Sugar Town, a teen-aged girl, an epileptic boy, an alcoholic murderer and a spirit-seeking outsider, drawn together by a curiously enabling piece of space debris, show the way to redemption.Sugar Town is a place that conceals a shameful deed. More than a decade ago, a series of terrible crimes was committed against a single family and, through resolute inaction, all were left unresolved. Among the very few people in town who know nothing of the crimes are, ironically, the victims. The story's thirteen year old narrator, Ruth, knows only that, once upon a time, her grandmother suffered a violent and fatal attack in her home, her mother suicided and her father, a minister, abandoned his Australian home and family to start a mission in New Guinea. What remains of her family is herself, her piously intense 24 year old sister who suffers from repressed memory syndrome and her eleven year old brother who, with recently diagnosed late-onset occipital epilepsy, has become prone to periodic hallucinations. When Ruth discovers letters that hint at a community-wide deception, she begins to ask questions, in the process drawing strange allies to her. One is an old man who, though a peripheral witness to the original crimes, now sees the world through an alcoholic fug. Another is an eccentric young woman, an 'outsider', whose presence in the rural town is in itself a mystery. As their questions begin to bite, new crimes are committed, apparently in defence of past decisions; but consciences are prodded as well, and the townsfolk begin a painful process of self-disclosure. Only then is it found that some truths really are too painful or too extraordinary to be spoken.
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