Cover Image: Shepherd


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Member Reviews

This is a book that was written with care. The way the characters and story develops was done masterfully.
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Thanks to Netgalley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was really not what I was expecting, it's a historical brutal telling of what happens when criminals were enslaved on a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere as their punishment. This book is gory, it's intense but it's super interesting.
It did start to feel a bit samey towards the second half and I didn't like the way the term 'the blacks' kept being bandied around but overall this book was fast-paced and I enjoyed reading it.
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This was a good read, which kept me interested from beginning to end.  I enjoyed the prose, and was intrigued by the characters, and where their stories would lead.
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It's hard to describe this book without giving away it's plot, but if you're a fan of isolated thrillers... this one is for you!
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This book was not at all what I was expecting.  The description of the setting made the story feel very realistic.  This was a very violent book which is the part I was not expecting.  This is the type of book that I have to be in a particular frame of mind to read.  Because of that there were a few times where while I wanted to know where the story was going I was a little hesitant to pick it up because I didn't know what I would encounter.  Overall I would recommend this book as long as you don't mind a lot of violence.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Wowzer this book was a rollercoaster following life in the Australian outback back when Australia had been newly discovered. Some of the language is contemporary and sounds harsh to modern ears but it was typical of the time (even though it made me wince regularly). I was caught up in the whole story and the adrenaline was pumping. It's hard to describe the plot without ruining the story but the sense of isolation, basic living, threats from all angles and the almost impossible task of keeping yourself, your sheep, your dogs alive day after day. Just amazing. Read it.
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Catherine JInks' Shepherd is the story of a shepherd caught in the wilderness. He is accompanied by a dear friend and is haunted by a recent attack and its participants. The participant will come back to finish his time on Earth. But little did he know that it is not only him but also the entire farm that he wants to capture. 

Shepherd is a story a wild goose chase set in the wilderness. The chase is fast paced and keeps one aware of the god forbading environment. The reader will be constantly put to think that the end is near but every time there is an escape though it may be gory. But finally does the young shepherd come out victorious. That remains to be read!!!

Shepherd stands out for the different premise and the details of the wilderness. 

This book is worth reading, for its nail biting moments and for the protagonists' grit.
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I received this book from Text Publishing through NetGalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Setting: Australian outback, 1840. Australia is a country used by Britain for convict rehabitation. Tom, a thirteen year old boy, was sent here for poaching. Here, in this land of snakes and indigenous peoples, he lives a hard scrabble existence as a sheep herder. His beloved dogs and a small crew of men protect the sheep for the land owners. One man lives outside the rules and his murderous rage sets off a wildfire of torture, violence, animal abuse and now he's coming for Tom. It's a fight for existence in a harsh land, where men are grown out of a need to take what they can to survive.
Violent tale of a land and history rarely told, this book is not your usual thriller. It reads like a wild western novel, with strong characters, ingenuity and adventure.
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"I don’t think it foolish to defend those whom God has seen fit to place in my care. What is a shepherd if not the protector of his sheep? And I’m still a shepherd, though my flock is much reduced."

This tells us precisely who our protagonist, Tom Clay, is. A shepherd with strong values, the greatest respect for animals and the drive to overcome adversity. What it doesn't reveal though, is that Tom is a slight, 13yo, convict orphan. In the 1840s, Tom was transported to NSW for poaching. A skilled hunter and tracker, he was assigned to Mr Barrett where he became shepherd to Barrett's flock. Working in seclusion, although not entirely alone, for weeks at a time, Tom had to protect the sheep from wild dogs, the local Aboriginal people, and anyone else who might come along and try to steal them.

One day, after an unsuccessful attempt to take care of a troublesome wild dog, Tom returns to the shepherds' hut to be greeted by a stranger. Irishman Rowdy Cavanagh is a new employee of Mr Barrett and he has been sent to replace the absconder, Dan Carver. Tom thought Carver was a nasty piece of work - delighting in telling him all about the violence and mayhem that had landed him on a ship to the colony. One thing Tom remembered very clearly was being told by Carver that his guiding principle was to leave no witness alive. So later that night, when Carver ambushes them, Tom knows they will have to have their wits about them to escape Carver's clutches and make their way to Barrett's homestead, 10 miles away.

This is quite a short book, and with the action and adrenaline ramped up to eleven all the way through, a faster reader than me could probably finish it in one sitting. But only if you have the stomach for it! I loved it, but I did have one reservation, and that was that I didn't really know who the audience was. The book seems like YA, but it's actually quite dark and the violence is graphic - showing not just the actions but the outcomes as well. It didn't bother me, but I would caution squeamish younger readers. Tom was a great character; skilled but fallible and with an amusing internal monologue. I'd like to meet him again some day for another adventure.
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A mixture of Australian outback history and pursuit thriller, 

As we follow the story of how Tom Clay a young lad who was deported for poaching can evade the evil Carver who is out for revenge.

This is a fast paced thriller which also manages tell the story on the side of a deported criminal in the Australian outback in 1840.

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for a honest review.
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This story about Tom Clay, a twelve years old poacher. After he was caught, he was assigned to a shepherds’ hut out west at New South Wales. Because of what he experienced in his short life he prefers to be with animals rather than a man. He is a very clever and brave child. We read the story about his struggle for survival in 1840.

This story has a very simple plot but it is a very fast-paced thriller. If you want to forget about your daily troubles and to read without thinking, I would recommend reading this story. 

Thanks to #NetGalley and the Text Publishing providing me a copy of  #Shepherd in exchange for an unbiased review.

Ps. I will post this review in my Goodreads account at its publish date (12 May 2020).
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"My duty is to the flock, always. Without it I'm nothing."

Let me get one thing straight. This book is called Shepherd but after the first 10-15%, there are hardly any sheep and hardly any shepherding involved in this book.

This is a story about survival. It a high-paced, quick read that is pretty much high adrenaline until the very end. On top of that, when it isn't high adrenaline, there are many "downer" points that I didn't really care for myself. 

That Dan Carver is one monster, with no soul and no conscious. 

When I didn't have anxiety over what was going on, I felt bad for Tom Clay, the protagonist. The kid lived an incredibly depressing life: sister died nothing, mother (along with newborn brother) died during childbirth, older brother was shot & killed, and abusive drunkard of a father was hanged...the only friends this kid has ever had were dogs and it seemed like all of those were ripped from him as well.

I understand that his upbringing was the whole justification for how he learned to survive everything but I, personally, would not be able to recommend this book to anyone. I felt the ending was disappointing as well. Was not for me.
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I ended up DNFing this one. I didn't like that it was a slow burn. I either love or dislike slow burns and this just turned out to be one that I disliked. I had a hard time wanting to pick this one up.
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Historical fiction entwined with fact which I found to be questionable. A slow burner and I nearly gave up but I persevered. It did pick up the pace and it is a dark read. This is definitely not a read for animal lovers as there is a lot of graphic violence towards animals. Not what I was expecting and left me cold.
Thanks to Text Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC.
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Young teenage orphan Tom Clay has been transported to Australia after he was caught poaching in Suffolk and sent to work in outback NSW as a shepherd. In 1840, Australia is a tough place to be a convict, especially for a boy isolated in a shepherd's hut with older convicts, meagre supplies, rough inhospitable terrain and fear of wild dogs and fearful tales of the local Aborigines. But the violence in this tale is much closer to home with one of Tom's fellow shepherds, Dan Carver murdering another man and now returning with two other escaped convicts to kill any witnesses in an attempt to save himself from hanging. With his beloved dog Gyp and a recent arrival, a garrulous Irishman called Rowdy, Tom attempts to outrun Carver to get to his employer's farm ten miles away to raise the alarm.

Set against the atmospheric outback of colonial Australia, this is a gritty tale with a relentless tension as Tom tries to keep Carver at bay and protect Gyp and Rowdy, who lacks any bush skills and is more of a liability than a help to him. Tom is a great character, with his instinctive love of nature, innate smartness and tracking skills learnt as a poacher he knows a lot about reading the land and setting traps. The murderous Carver is a truly evil man without any human decency and the violence is quite graphic as he attempts to kill all who stand in his way. While this has the feel of a YA novel, the degree of violence would make it unsuitable for young teens.
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DNF at 45%. I tried so hard to get into this story, but unfortunately the writing was not for me. Personally, I couldn't handle the amount of animal cruelty/injuries in this book, however this is not the fault of the author. 

Shepherd was high-intensity, brutal and not for the faint of heart. My heart was racing the entire time I was reading (to the point where I decided to DNF) - I think the author has done a brilliant job of creating a tense, terrifying atmosphere. I might give this a go at a later date, but for now it's a DNF. 

If you want to white-knuckle your way through a book, I recommend it. Just keep in mind that there is a decent amount of animal violence in this book.
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Slow start here but ramped up to be pretty action packed and exciting. Very distracting read during this tough time, glad I picked it. 

Tom was a great character to narrate. Interesting perspective and natural voice. Felt a bit questionable on some bits but this was supposed to be historical fiction.
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This is an Australian historical fiction set in the 1840s. It follows a teenager, Tom, who was sentenced to the penal colony for 7 years. Seems like a chase novel, but it was violent. While the book was short, the chases went on and on. Harsh and gritty. Than you, Netgalley, for the opportunity to read for an honest review. 3 Stars
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Fast, entertaining, with relatable characters. The prose has a great flow and conveys emotions well. Definitely worth a read.
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Thanks NetGalley and Text Publishing for the ARC.
A thrilling novel that starts slow and has me reading with one eye on the page and other one looking over my shoulder.  I'm an easy scare so I have no idea why I ever said I would read this one.  
Ended up being pretty good.
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