Flight of the Eagle

Written by Peter Watt
Review by Mary L. Newton

Flight of the Eagle is the final volume of a trilogy set in 19th century Australia, with segments taking place in the Sudan and Ireland. As the story opens, the Native Mounted police are trying to hunt down pockets of resistance to European settlements in Queensland by the Kalkadoon tribe.

Watt describes the outback territory vividly, and the novel conveys a strong sense of the multicultural stew of settlers who built modern Australia. He portrays the conflict between settlers wresting a life from the wilderness and native people who see European settlement as destructive to their ancient way of life. However, frequent changes of focus are disconcerting. Watt gives the reader a number of storylines, with a large and shifting cast of characters, but spends too much ink in recalling events from their past histories (presumably recounted in his previous books). The interesting setting and events were developed in a pedestrian style. Perhaps there were too many characters to weave into a coherent story.