A powerful story based on the real-life experiences of hundreds of British children who were sent as war refugees to New Zealand and Australia during the Second World War. Fourteen-year-old Jake suffers cruelly at the hands of a rural family, only to be offered sanctuary and eventual redemption by the elderly town doctor, Mac. His story is complex, dealing graphically with issues of community attitudes to violence and discipline and Jake's eventual response to his treatment is not what you might expect. Not a conventional 'morality' tale by any means, Taylor deals masterfully with the reality of revenge and retribution, handling the issues with skill. Gritty, and definitely not for younger readers, the story of Jake contains vivid descriptions of violence and cruelty to animals that need maturity to handle - hence the cover design, intended to clearly signal that this is not a book for younger readers.
William Taylor has written many children's books and has been published worldwide. He won the New Zealand Library Association's Esther Glen Medal for Agnes the Sheep. His titles have been honoured by both the New York Public Library and the American Library Association. William Taylor used to be a teacher, and he lives in Raurimu near Mt Ruapehu in the central North Island.