Field of Thunder is a work of historical fiction and high adventure based primarily on the exploits of Lewis Lasseter, a prospector and explorer who in the early 1930s held Australia and much of the world enthralled. He had recounted the tale of having discovered a fabulous reef of near- pure gold in the central australian desert some thirty years before and thereby caught the attention of a nation. Day by day the media of the period followed the progress of the best equipped expedition ever to enter central australia as it sought to relocate the reef. The unfolding gloom of the Great Depression was briefly forgotten in favour of Lasseter, the Robin Hood of the day, as he and the expedition sought to relocate this fabulous treasure. The story begins with the young Lasseter's expulsion from school and his subsequent apprenticeship into exploration and prospecting in the wastelands of Western Australia. Great moments in Australian History are given commercial appeal and woven throughout the narrative in a style reminiscent of Wilbur Smith. The reader, through Lasseter, is led back to the turn of the century gold discoveries near the embryonic Alice Springs, then taken to the unexplored wastelands of 'the center'. He becomes hopelessly lost, parched and under threat of murder at the hands of hostile natives. At his lowest moment, he stumbles upon a reef of unimaginable richness, only to lose it again after becoming disorientated and near to perishing in the sandy wastes. Rescue (and some soft historical insight into the Afghanistan of the mid- 1800s) comes from an unlikely source, an Afghan camel driver and loveable villain of the outback, who saves Lasseter's life then transports him to a nearby cattle station. More easy history envelopes Ah Lee, a Chinese physician turned gold seeker, fugitive and w station cook, who nurses the young man back to health on the station. Lies, deception and Aboriginal magic, Kadaitcha, together with Lasseter's psychotic fear enshroud the location of the reef for the next thirty years. The exigencies of the Depression and family catastrophe force him to reveal its existence and agree to lead an expedition to relocate it. Lasseter loses his life under remarkable circumstances and the secret of the reef dies with him. In 1953, extraordinary events are again brewing in central australia that will finally explain why hundreds of expeditions since Lasseter have failed to locate his 'Eldorado' and why any future attempts will most likely fail. The true nature of the land, it's vastness and vengeance against those who would plunder or corrupt it underscore the dominant story of high adventure, death, privation and lost treasure. Aboriginal issues are explored and their skills, customs and taboos graphically, yet sensitively treated by an author who grew up with them in the outback as playmates, mentors and life-long friends. Field of Thunder is, above all else, a compelling story of Australia, the real Australia, and of the people, passions and tragedies that have all contributed to its unique character.
John McGregor was raised in Australia's 'outback' where he was initially educated by 'School of the air', Correspondence School' and more importantly, by his Aboriginal playmates. He retains a deep understanding of the desert people's customs and ways and of the skills that enable them to thrive where others would die. Having left the land to pursue an overseas career in Aviation, he frequently returns to the desert to re-establish himself with the land and its custodians; his childhood friends and mentors.