Saturday 20 August 2022


Wanderer written by Victor Kelleher, Illustrated by Lorena Carrington (Eagle Books) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9780645378818

Reviewed by Sarah Tegerdine

Wanderer is an upper middle grade novel set in a striking and perilous landscape, perhaps a dystopian future. The natural world reigns supreme, warring tribes maraud land and sea, predators hunt and mankind cling to survive. Humanity it seems, has lost its way, almost at least.

Dane, a young ‘keen sighted’ seafarer, orphaned from the age of 10, now lives off the coastal fringes from his kayak. His belongings -- sparse but crucial for his survival – include a bow, a spear, and knife, and tucked inside the safety of his tunic pocket, is a book. Gifted to him by his mother it’s a treasure from ‘The Golden Years,’ a lost relic containing ‘Old Knowledge’ and is a constant source of comfort to Dane especially in the darkest of moments.

Dane’s kayak needs repair and through his wanderings he learns of a man named Garth, who is said to make all manner of boats, even owning books about them too. Fuelled with this knowledge Dane sets off to find him. Upon meeting Garth, Dane also happens to meet his granddaughter Lana, an extraordinary girl who has an amazing gift.

It is at this moment their lives change in an instant and they are both plunged into a deeply dangerous journey that will push them beyond their limits.

A story of friendship, endurance, adversity, and sheer grit determination against all odds. Wanderer is a gripping multi-layered adventure that leaves echoes beyond the page.

Cover and internal illustrations are by Lorena Carrington. The cover depicts two youths aboard a sea kayak in treacherous open sea. Shadows of Orcas lays in wait in the murky depths. A lone white albatross circles the boat from above.  

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