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Ghost River
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Ghost River

Author: Tony Birch



Archie Kemp knows trouble when he sees it, and he sees it when 13-year-old Sonny Brewer moves in next door. But life for the dirt-poor kid of an alcoholic father in hard-knocks Collingwood can be brutal, violent even, so it’s lucky for Sonny he finds a friend in Archie’s stepson, Ren … and both boys find freedom and adventure along the winding banks of the Yarra.
They are not alone. The River Boys – Tex, Cold Can, Big Tiny, Tallboy and the Doc, homeless men who live along the Yarra where they can drink in peace – welcome the boys into their mob and share their river secrets. Elsewhere, the daughter of a reverend in the cult church of Father Jealous Divine finds refuge on its shaded banks.
Time and again, the river shields the boys from the attentions of vicious bent cop Sergeant Foy and from the local gangsters who bankroll him– the same crooks for whom Sonny is forced to work when his father finally abandons him altogether. But progress comes to this forgotten corner of Melbourne disguised as the surveyors and earthmovers brought in to build the freeway that will destroy this precious stretch of river forever and, with it, a simpler way of life.

Can Ren and Sonny save the river they love, or will the overwhelming odds stacked against two poor kids from the wrong side of the tracks prove insurmountable?
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