The Europeans: A Saga of Settlement Down Under
by Gerry Burke

"Change can sometimes be an ugly word in small communities, and there is often opposition to the best ideas."

In Burke’s elaborate chronicle, two millionaire tycoons duel among the “sweeping plains and ragged mountain ranges.” Like many Europeans migrating to the land, Scotsman Bing McKeon seeks a home in the Australian region. He falls in love and marries a teacher named Helen, a practical woman who keeps her husband grounded in his grand, pioneering business ventures. As Bing builds a dynasty on his Aberdeen homestead, he attains financial success in various businesses. Their son Joe grows up in his father’s footsteps, comfortably finding his own place among the horse racing industry.

Meanwhile, a grumpy Greek man named Peter Papadopoulos (whom Burke conveniently refers to as PP throughout) despises Bing’s developments and eventually stakes out his corner of the market. With shady business deals, Peter equally rises in the ranks to match Bing’s social and financial successes. But the real competition happens on the cutthroat racetrack where a dangerous feud brews between Peter and Bing. Peter’s daughter Lydia (“the Greek goddess”), an accomplished equestrian, and Bing’s son Joe, a skilled horse conditioner, develop a close relationship despite their feuding fathers. And then Matthew O’Gorman, a dangerous Irishman, arrives as a new villain and recklessly disrupts everything.

Burke’s multi-generational tale boasts a convoluted plot that touches on themes of home, family bonds, human aspirations, culture, and greed. With detailed and playful imagination, Burke’s tongue-in-cheek observations of the dramatic and rancorous schemes of his quarreling characters are infused with humor in satiric fashion. He applies depictive nicknames to match personalities, metaphorical allusions, or commentary in the form of images sprinkled within the narrative to elicit smirks at his never-ending witticism. Burke’s caricature-laden prose will largely appeal to fans of dark humor with this wild story of survival.

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