In January 1873, New Zealand, in a sparsely populated coastal community on Wellington’s south coast, the peaceful lives of Owhiro Bay residents are shattered with the discovery of two brutal and senseless murders.
What begins as a local murder investigation turns into a plot of global proportions. From the political agenda of England’s Prime Minister, the Machiavellian son of Russia’s Tsar, to the famed exploits of America’s Confederate ship Alabama. Intricately researched, this story uses many recorded historical events and people to weave a story of intrigue, conspiracy and greed.
Returning in ‘For Want of a Shilling’, veteran soldier and local constable, Sergeant Moana Rangitira of the Armed Constabulary, investigates the murders, which leads him in frantic pursuit of Russians through the streets of Wellington. The trail leads northwards where he encounters smugglers, and his violent past as a Forest Ranger remerges to haunt him when he is pursued by a Maori war party, intent on revenge, through Taranaki’s rugged bush and wilderness. Eventually confronting the Russians in the dark waters of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, he discovers they want more than information.
Can Sergeant Rangitira, prevent the Russians from fulfilling their ultimate goal, and can he prevent Russia and England from going to war?