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Lunch with a Soldier/Hansen, Derek/Paper/0732275474/S008-C
Lunch with a Soldier is Derek Hansen at his best, combining flavours of Sole Survivor with the familiar piquancy of the Lunch series.
'My story is the story of my brother, Billy.' Neil stared down at the table, momentarily lost for words. When they finally came, his friends had to strain to hear him. 'It is my family's darkest secret. If the secret is to be revealed, unfortunately, I am the one obliged to do it.'
'Why? Why you?' asked Lucio.
'Because I took my brother's life.'
Once again, four friends gather to share lunch and their mutual passion for storytelling. This time it is Neil's turn, and this time the story will be distinctively Australian.
A bitter critic of his friends' insistence on telling true stories, Neil reluctantly challenges them with a true story of his own. He protests that they left him no choice, claiming that fiction can never compete with truth and that the baring of his shame is a consequence.
His shocking admission is the first of many shocks in a story that begins in the desperate, red-ridge country of north-west New South Wales, when a city woman rents a disused house in an isolated corner of Billy's vast grazing property. She is beautiful, worldly and out of place. She is also on the run. Both she and Billy have dark secrets which take readers into the country's toughest prisons, the opal mines of the Grawin and war-torn Vietnam. It is a story in which truth is never constant and friendships are tested to the limit.