This is a story of freedom, risk, and unspoken truths; a time before and after the American Civil War and the eradication of the Aboriginal people in Van Diemen's Land (today's Tasmania). This unparalleled novel, Out of the Rabbit Hutch, unites the power and drama of two distant countries and two generations.
Populated by socialites, opium users, slave hunters, and war heroes, the novel chronicles the remarkable tale of Asa Young, a veteran of America's Civil War. Unable to speak and still seemingly broken from the war, Asa is released from a mental asylum and entrusted into the care of the Jameson home, a family tainted by secrets and deceit. Initiated by their young daughter, Flora, a curious relationship of trust and understanding develops between the man and child.
On the other side of the world, the devastating effect of Britain's brutal colonization of Van Diemen's Land remains an undercurrent of inward struggles seen through flashbacks and indirect revelations of past events. A man of integrity, Mallabal, a free Aborigine, journeys from this British claimed penal colony to antebellum America. His chance meeting with the ambitious Sydney Bushnell, who uses her feminine charm to defy the social restrictions placed upon women, embroils him in a forbidden relationship and a struggle for self-preservation.
In this vivid and harrowing novel of a battle scared country and psychological turmoil of the human soul, Avery forges an intriguing plot balancing the unlikely interactions between characters with a refreshing blend of compassion, humor, mystery, and candor.