#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · historical fiction · literary · new release

New Release Book Review: A Treacherous Country by K.M. Kruimink

Title: A Treacherous Countrya treacherous country small

Author: K.M. Kruimink

Published: April 21st 2020

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 256

Genres: Fiction, Historical

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars


There is a woman, somewhere, here, in Van Diemen’s Land, unless she had died or otherwise departed, called Maryanne Maginn.

Gabriel Fox, the young son of an old English house, arrives in a land both ancient and new.

Drawn by the promise of his heart’s desire, and compelled to distance himself from pain at home, Gabriel begins his quest into Van Diemen’s Land.

His guide, a Cannibal who is not all he seems, leads him north where Gabriel might free himself of his distracting burden and seek the woman he must find. As Gabriel traverses this wild country, he uncovers new truths buried within his own memory.

Authentic, original and playful, A Treacherous Country is a novel of loyalty, wisdom and the freedom to act.


On April 20th 2020, The Australian/Vogel Literary Award was announced online as K.M. Kruimink, for her manuscript A Treacherous Country. Allen and Unwin has published Kruimink’s award winning piece and it was a great pleasure to be able to review A Treacherous Country. A novel told with wide eyed naivety, wit and historical insight, Kruimink’s prize winning book is a strong literary offering.

A Treacherous Country charts the incredible journey of Gabriel Fox, an Englishman who arrives on the menacing shores of notorious convict country, Van Diemen’s Land. Gabriel is tasked with the job of finding a woman who first set foot on Van Diemen’s Land some thirty years ago. What follows is a tough, as well as eye opening adventure. With a figure named Cannibal accompanying him, Gabriel crosses dangerous terrain. Along the way Gabriel confronts hard truths about his new environment, his mission and his past. A unique story that is credible, vivid and spirited, A Treacherous Country is an astonishing record of the past.

The recipient of one of Australia’s most lucrative awards for a writer, A Treacherous Country has made very early waves in the literary world. K.M. Kruimink’s introspective novel provides the reader with a rich and unique insight into Van Diemen’s Land in the nineteenth century. These early days of Australia’s past were incredibly hazardous and precarious. The impact of colonisation was ever present as Van Diemen’s Land was establishing itself. Kruimink does an excellent job of setting the scene and immersing her audience in Australia’s turbulent past.

Our guide for this novel’s incredulous journey is Gabriel Fox, a man who is very green to Van Diemen’s Land.  We are firmly rooted inside Gabriel’s head for the duration of the novel. Gabriel’s perceptions fluctuate from quite meaningful moments and solid impressions to comical episodes. The natural environment is a force to be reckoned with, overshadowing virtually all moments of Gabriel’s trek. I really enjoyed these aspects of A Treacherous Country. The weight of the strange and wild country Gabriel must traverse plays heavily on our lead’s mind. It is a tumultuous, but relatively short sojourn. Kruimink pits Gabriel against plenty of interesting situations, which he must negotiate in order to reach his end goal. I wasn’t too sure of the ending, which seemed to come rather swiftly after all I had invested in Gabriel’s quest.

With themes of adventure, exploration, danger, injustice, freedom, choice, exploration, companionship, loyalty, family and desire, A Treacherous Country is an assured historical fiction composition.

A Treacherous Country by K.M. Kruimink was published on April 21st 2020 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

*I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

A Treacherous Country is book #68 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge



8 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: A Treacherous Country by K.M. Kruimink

  1. Bryce Courtenay’s book The Potato Factory was set in Van Diemen’s Land and it was truly awful what they had to go through back then, but this book sounds like the main character simply went on a trek or did he encounter hardship and cruelty?
    Fantastic review, Amanda! This could be interesting reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I remember. I went through a spate of reading Tasssie set books after visiting there. I’m still fascinated by Van Diemen’s Land, I will always gravitate to literature set there. The journey the lead takes is a short one, so not too much hardship and cruelty. It’s more about the setting and atmosphere. Very literary though.

      Thank you!


      1. By the look of the cover I thought it might be literary. Not in the mood to read serious lit at the moment too many fun books about. Lol. Although it might fit into a category in next years Popsugar challenge so I’ll add it to my TBR list.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes it is literary for sure, it just won the Vogel/Australian prize. I loved the setting so much though.

        Wow, do you plan on doing Pop Sugar next year? That’s awesome, I think I will probably try the Dymocks challenge instead if they put one up again. I was so disappointed when they came out with their challenge list after I had committed to Pop Sugar!


  2. Yeah, I was planning to do the Popsugar challenge next year but I’m thinking now I might take a break from all challenges except for ours as I need to read less, not less just take more time instead of rushing each book. I had a look at the Dymocks challenge and it looks great and less books to read than the pop sugar one lol. I really do love the Popsugar challenge though as I just think their categories are awesome and so much fun choosing books from my shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess you could reassess it at the end of the year? If you really enjoyed Pop Sugar you might find room for it next year? Although I’ve loved it, I’ve found it quite stressful with work increasing, so I will have to scale back next year. I am not joining in with this month’s book club read and Theresa’s page by page one as they are both classics and I just don’t have time. At this stage I haven’t even read my international male author book, hopefully on the weekend. I’ve been on the same book since Tuesday, which is bad for me! A really heavy work week, I’m shattered, still one more week until holidays and a four day work week ahead as I’m doing an extra day!

      I didn’t notice the Dymocks one was less than pop sugar in terms of categories, thanks for pointing it out!

      The benefits of pop sugar are definitely the interesting categories. It’s been good to match book on my shelves to the categories.


      1. Seems like we both took on too many challenges this year! I hope you get your international male author book read otherwise don’t worry about it and just read/review it next month, it’s fine if two international male author books are posted in the one month. I’ve read my book I just haven’t had time to review it as Steven’s been home and we’ve been going out a lot and of an afternoon and evening we’re binge watching Shadow Hunters (Netflix) which is soooo good. The actors are all so adorable lol.

        I hope you’re able to have a good rest on the up coming holidays and get plenty of reading in!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree Sue, over committed, but I’ve liked them all for their reasons and each have their own benefits. It will be hard to decide which one to drop next year. I will definitely work with you on the international female one if you are still game?

        I hope you are enjoying your outings and Netflix binge it is a nice break between reading! I haven’t heard of that show, I just finished The Woods after season 3 of The Sinner.

        It was a hectic start to the holidays with soccer games and birthday party jammed into the first weekend and now elite soccer camp training for Spencer three days this first week of the holidays but I have managed to relax a little and enjoy some good books, as well as some TV.

        Hope your reading is going well!


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