Maralinga, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


During the darkest days of the Cold War, in the remote wilderness of a South Australian desert, the future of an infant nation is being decided - without its people's knowledge.

In the spring of 1956, British Lieutenant Daniel Gardiner accepts a twelve-month posting to Maralinga, South Australia, on a promise of rapid promotion.

Instead he finds himself in a violent and unforgiving landscape, infected with the unique madness and excitement born from involvement in a nuclear testing site. Adventurous journalist Elizabeth Hoffmann travels halfway around the world searching for answers, and her lost love.

Here she discovers the truth about this desolate place, and the story of the innocent people who had walked their land unhindered for forty thousand years, until now ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9780749954956



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This Australian novel brought measured praise from our group. Everyone agreed that the enjoyment level of the read was high enough to be considered worthwhile, but factually it fell short for a few of us. The character of Elizabeth and her family in particular stretched the believable boundary for some, and although we felt Nunn’s research to be laudable, we all would have liked more of a precise history written into the story. But then Nunn is a fiction writer and a few members stressed that this was about ‘storytelling’ and not an historical document. There were plenty of unanswered questions left open for discussion, which gives inquiring minds such as ours, something to examine and analysis. By the end of it all, there were some who were keen to read on about Maralinga and learn more about the apparent cover-up and effects of nuclear testing in Australia. By the end of our meeting it was clear that, when a novel can stimulate the mind to such a degree, it is always worth the read and reinforces the value of fiction and book clubs!

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