‘Swimmers in an Ancient Sea’

‘Swimmers in an Ancient Sea’ is an adult book. It is available online as an ebook to purchase or borrow through Amazon Kindle Books.


What's the book about?

‘From the Sea’ is a novel about love, loss, abandonment and the fracturing of the self, but  ultimately about integrity and forgiveness.
The book is set in a remote river system in the Kimberly, and in the western NSW desert on the Paroo River system near White Cliffs. These isolated and evocative landscapes of Northern Australia and the central desert country are integral to the narrative; the landscape itself functioning as an important and dramatic character in the story.
Martin Wooten is a palaeontologist, whose wife, Monique, drowns attempting to save their child, Marina. Unable to deal with the desolation her death brings, Martin leaves Marina with his sister and disappears. He becomes increasingly anti-social, shifting further and further from civilisation, until finally choosing to live in total isolation as a caretaker in an abandoned property in the King Leopold Ranges of the Kimberley.

The first part of the book follows Marina’s story from her rescue as a four-year-old through to her teenage years, to her poignant reunion with Nicholas Stevens, the man who saved her life as a young child.
Several chapters explore Martin’s flight from Melbourne into Northern Australia, the remote Kimberley gorges country, Martin’s own brush with drowning in storm surge in a flooding ravine, and his rescue of a dying man from a remote river hundreds of kilometres from Broome.

Whilst in the Kimberley, as caretaker on Breadle Gorge Station, Martin begins a relationship with a woman with an enigmatic past, Jessie Ryan, who has lived at Breadle as a child. When the property is sold, Martin loses touch with Jessie.

In the second half of the novel, Marina, now eighteen and a very determined young woman, arrives at Paroo Downs with the intention of remaining for a year and forcing a reunion with her father. Martin is engaged in the excavation of a Kronosaurus, a rare and immense Cretaceous period reptile of the ancient Eromanga Sea that once covered inland Australia. The relationship is extremely difficult for both of them and is maintained only because of Marina’s persistence.
During this period, Marina continues to explore her parent’s histories, particularly through Ohanna Becket, filmmaker, who has known Martin all his life. Ohanna offers a different interpretation of Marina’s parent’s lives, and Martin’s privileged but neglected childhood. Under Marina’s determined campaign, her father finally acknowledges his need for her and begins a more truthful connection with her.

Martin has found Jessie again at Breadle Gorge Station and has resumed a long distance relationship with her. The book ends with Martin  planning a return with Marina to the Kimberly, hopeful that Jessie and he may be able to develop an enduring relationship.


Comments from Bron Blake

Although this book has much in common with the Young Adult version, ‘From the Sea’, this is an adult book exploring more adult themes, using more complex language and ideas, expanding more on the Northern and desert environments and Cretaceous palaeontology.

I began by writing this book as a YA, but became more and more involved with the character of Martin and how his grief would be expressed by such an introverted man. It quickly moved from being a YA novel into an adult one... however as I then reintroduced the young adult Marina back into the narrative, I wanted again to write her as a YA character.
The problem resolved itself by these two versions, the adult book ‘Swimmers in an Ancient Sea’, and the YA book ‘From the Sea’.

I hope you enjoy this adult version.