Archipelago of Souls, Gregory Day
In the aftermath of the Second World War, an Australian soldier, Wesley Cress, a hero of the underground resistance on German-occupied Crete, seeks solace and comfort on King Island, in the mouth of Bass Strait, in the Roaring Forties latitude of the Southern Ocean.
Wesley carries in his heart the infernal story of the Battle of Crete, the disappearance of his brother in the ensuing evacuation, and the hellish journey he was forced to take after he was left behind on the ancient island.
When he meets Leonie Fermoy, the granddaughter of an American whaler with her own nightmares, the private and the public battles of their post-war worlds begin to fuse. Through the agency of John Lascelles - the unassuming postmaster on the island and a crusader for the rights of returned soldiers - Wes and Leonie attempt to negotiate a future in which love can prevail in a morally devastated world.
Archipelago of Souls is a novel exploring the difficult realities of nationhood, war, morality and love. Compelling and beautifully realised, it is about the creation of identity, the enigmas of memory and the power of the written word to heal the deepest wounds.