AWRW Book Review ☀ Dark Southern Sun ☀ Ryan’s Journey Volume 2, by Author Shaun J. McLaughlin

Love, Friendship and Honor in the Goldfields of Old Australia

ebook, 284 pages
Published December 1rst 2014 by Raiders and Rebels Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventurous Fiction
Ryan’s Journey Series, Book 2

Dark Southern Sun is a story about love, friendship, and honor in the goldfields of old Australia.

In this sequel to Counter Currents, Ryan washes up on the southern shore of Australia near death in 1845. Rescued by two Wathaurung native children and nursed to health by their parents, his life and theirs are entwined through good and sorrow for the next ten years. Set against the historical backdrop of Australia’s formative years, Ryan witnesses the displacement of the Aboriginal people, and he faces the chaos of the world’s largest alluvial gold rush and the bloodshed of Australia’s only armed uprising.

Throughout, two very different women—one white, one black—tug at his heart as he struggles from penury to prosperity. As he rises in social esteem as an astute businessman and cunning streetfighter, Ryan creates two bitter enemies—one white, one black. In time, they set aside their vast racial and emotional hatreds and combine forces. Can Ryan survive their vicious attempt to destroy him and save the good life he has built?

“Our opposing destinies have walked side-by-side for ten years. Today, we end that.”

Having read Counter Currents, late 2013, I looked forward to getting to this volume of Ryan’s Journey. I must say, this novel shows Ryan’s growth, not only physically, but mentally too.

I liked that this novel was named after my favorite character, Alinga. 🙂 I liked her from the start when Ryan washed up at their camp and she tended to him, and then she further grew on me, the more I read. *Spoiler alert* –You can’t imagine my disappointment upon her death, but was satisfied in the way that Ryan avenged her death. –*End of Spoiler Alert*


What I learned from this novel is that sometimes honor costs more than it’s worth. There were so many opportunities for Ryan to have taken out dangerous people, but because of honor, he wouldn’t, and in the end, it really bit him in the butt! That was extremely depressing!

And that Ellen, grrr! Never liked her! When she was referred to as a “possum in heat”, I nearly spit my coffee all over myself! That insult was perfectly fitting for her!


What made me sad about this novel was that had Ryan never washed up on their shore, the family would have gone on to live their normal, warrior lives. Certainly, Ryan contributed a lot to them and he helped them and their relatives in many ways. But in the end… was it worth it?

At times, the pacing was slow, and after my favorite character’s death, I tuned out a bit.The murder of her and her family was such a major blow. I was surprised the Author went in this direction with the story.

Judging by the way this novel ended, I’m wondering if Ryan’s Journey will continue? I would love to read the third installment and hopefully, Ryan will get his “happily ever after”. He sure didn’t get it in this installment.

I would recommend this series to fans of historical (1800’s) and adventure fiction!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an e-copy of this novel, in exchange for a fair, thoughtful, and honest book review. This in no way swayed my review or rating.


Amazon, USA

Amazon, AU

About The Author

Shaun J. McLaughlin
Shaun J. McLaughlin has so far published two history books on the Patriot War of 1838 and two novels. All books are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

His first novel, Counter Currents, won the 2013 silver medal for Historical Literature Fiction-Modern (set 1500-1940 AD) awarded by Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards.

The sequel, Dark Southern Sun, is a story about love, friendship, and honor in the goldfields of old Australia.

A researcher, journalist and technical writer for over thirty years, with a master’s degree in journalism, Shaun lives on a hobby farm in Eastern Ontario. Now a semi-retired freelance writer, he focuses on fiction writing projects.


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