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The Infidels Next Door” by David Nunan

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In July 1934, Frank ‘Dodger’ Price, a prominent local businessman, rises to his feet in the courtroom of a provincial Australian city. He is charged with attempting to murder Edward Inman, a rough-hewn miner, who shoots angry looks at his adversary from across the courtroom. What led Price to commit this crime? The story begins in 1852 when W.H. Price, Dodger’s father, a committed atheist, escapes the stultifying religiosity of his Welsh homeland and sails with his young wife and child for the newly established colony of South Australia. There he plays a key role in establishing the Australian mining industry and becomes a founding member of the Secular Society. On the death of his wife, he rescues Annie Forbes, his much younger Scottish housekeeper, from her violent, drunken husband and they become lovers. The triangular relationship that develops between Annie, William Henry, and his fourth son, Thomas, is to have profound consequences for this highly unconventional family as it challenges the conventions of Victorian and Edwardian society. As the three-generational saga unfolds, it is woven into the fabric of Australia’s evolution from a fractious and often lawless collection of British colonies into a nation.

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