While on holiday in New Zealand in 1978, an English family have a catastrophic car crash. Twelve year-old Katherine Chamberlain, and her two brothers, Maurice and Tommy survive, but their parents are both killed. Injured and unable to get back to the road the children are forced to survive in a remote forest of New Zealand’s South Island.
Help eventually comes in the form of local pig hunter and dope grower, Peters. Instead of taking them to civilisation, he leads them to the isolated farm he shares with tattooed eccentric Martha. In a strange land the children don’t know if what Martha and Peters tell them is true or not. Is the farm really cut off from the world for most of the year? Do Katherine and her brothers owe a debt that has to be paid off before they can leave? Whatever the truth is, they are forced to work on the farm as indentured labour.
Meanwhile, their aunt, Suzanne, makes repeated trips from England to the area where the Chamberlain family vanished. Long after the police have stopped looking Suzanne still searches. Her quest, though, takes a toll, on her and her own family. And as the years pass her chances of finding Katherine and the boys becomes increasingly small.
To be launched in New Zealand by Penguin Random House on August 5, 2020.