THE PROTAGONISTS are two men more alike than different, despite their placement on opposite sides of the savage, bloody and short-lived conflict known as ‘Titokowaru’s War’ in the Taranaki, New Zealand, 1867-69.
Titokowaru – is warrior, priest and a man of two worlds, charged with defending his people’s ancestral lands from incursion by the very settlers whose faith, manners and customs he has adopted in the spirit of co-existence. Haunted by self-doubt and tormented by the weight of expectation, one of the most striking New Zealanders in our history vacillates between peace and war as he seeks a way of leading his people to accept the inevitable with honour.
John Selby Hunter – is a Civil War cavalryman shaped by his Virginian upbringing in the principles of duty and honour. In New Zealand by that very circumstance, the charismatic Governor George Grey persuades him that his talents can play a major part in the shaping of New Zealand’s destiny. However, as that part unfolds, Hunter becomes aware that expedience and honour are uneasy bedfellows.
This story is as true to real events of the period as the majority of the characters, whose attitudes are laid bare by the research undertaken. ‘Imperialism’, ‘manifest destiny’, ‘colonialism’ and ‘the white man’s burden’ troop through these pages as they inform conversations, decisions and actions.
Along the way there is—or may be—an answer to the longstanding mystery of why New Zealand’s best-ever general, Riwha Titokowaru, turned his back on final victory and walked away into the oblivion from which only Professor James Belich’s scholarship has recently resurrected him.
‘An End of Honour‘ moves from the Musket Wars battlefields of Taranaki to the campaigns of America’s Indian Wars, as they were known, and back again to the Land Wars via the society of colonial Auckland. It’s the story of two highly-principled men who see beyond division, race and greed to find unity in the thought that, if one has no honour, one has nothing.
What the reviewers said:
“There has been a huge amount of research undertaken by M J Burr to inform his crafting of this work.”
“Throughout, the fluent writing and realistic dialogue makes this book easy reading. Recommended for anyone with any interest in New Zealand’s past, or for those who simply enjoy a good story. It’s one that will stay with me while others fade from memory.”