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Michael Beashel

Author of The Sandstone Trilogy

The Sandstone Trilogy

These three novels, Unbound Justice, Unshackled and Succession, span 37 years of Sydney life in the second half of the nineteenth century. They follow the fortunes of 20-year-old John Leary, who in 1850 leaves his rural home in Ireland and sails as an assisted immigrant to the Colony of New South Wales.

Thanks to his skill as a carpenter, his hard work and the labour shortage due to the Gold Rush, he rises quickly in the building trade. His ambition is to have his own construction company. This he achieves, but his ambition proves boundless and we are witness to his ruthless progress to become the biggest and the best. The building industry becomes a metaphor for the growing city with its mixture of squalor and grandeur, of corruption and high ideals.

The Sandstone Trilogy, both historical drama and family saga, paints a vivid picture of nineteenth-century Sydney. Love, revenge and tragedy all play a part in the fortunes of John Leary and his family and the wide cast of friends and enemies.

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Succession

The final novel of The Sandstone Trilogy

Leary Contracting has to build it—the tallest hotel Sydney has ever seen. At 55, John Leary employs both his sons in his construction company, but the one he favours is his first-born, Richard. Meanwhile Richard’s half-brother, Brendan, gains the respect of the Leary workers because he has ‘bricks in his blood’.

John begins the massive hotel project, overcoming city red tape and the jabs of his fiercest competitor. The Imperial dwarfs all around it, with hundreds of workers busting their guts to finish the brutal program. Richard, charming but unreliable, marries well and dazzles the Sydney society of 1885, while Brendan proves himself tougher than he looks whenever real work is required.

John must choose which of his sons will lead Learys into the next century. Only after the Imperial is completed does he make his decision.

Praise for Succession

An engrossing saga of class, commerce and dynastic struggle. Michael Beashel displays a thorough craftsmanship born of his own life on construction sites, and one perfectly suited to portraying the dog-eat-dog bullishness of one of Sydney’s most remarkable eras. .

Alasdair McGregor

Author of:

Grand Obsessions: The life and work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin and A forger’s progress: The life of Francis Greenway

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Unshackled

The second novel of The Sandstone Trilogy: continuing the saga of John Leary in nineteenth- century Sydney.

Sydney is booming in 1855 and life looks grand for John Leary: his construction dreams are coming true, his beloved wife Clarissa is expecting their first child and, with his partner Sean Connaire, he has produced some of the city’s significant buildings. But success provokes jealousy, and a mysterious rival sabotages a vital Leary site.

John Leary cannot control his own company while his father-in-law holds a majority share, so he arranges a buyout on his own behalf—but this new, silent partner poses a serious risk to the harmony of his marriage. Meanwhile ex-convict Gerry Gleeson makes himself known to John as his uncle and helps him track down the saboteur.

Raw ambition, guilty secrets and undercover deals—will they bring the young builder to ruin or triumph?

Praise for Unshackled

‘The author must have an intimate knowledge of the construction industry considering the richness of the material and his passion for the subject.

Robin Fleming

-Acres Australia’‘

 

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Unbound Justice

This is the first novel in The Sandstone Trilogy: a new, magnificent view of nineteenth-century Sydney from the ground up.

John Leary boards ship in Ireland in 1850, a young carpenter ambitious for a new life in Australia. He sails with revenge in his heart—his beloved sister has been raped by her landlord, William Baxterhouse, who escapes on another ship with even grander plans for success in New South Wales.

In Sydney, hard workers like Leary and ruthless newcomers like Baxterhouse find a city fired by the Gold Rush and dedicated to creating the finest buildings in the colony. Leary has a double motive to make his construction company succeed: he has fallen in love with the beautiful Clarissa McGuire, whose family despise him, and Baxterhouse continues to rise in wealth and influence, seemingly untouchable. Meanwhile another woman, Beth O’Hare, is in love with John Leary, and he makes some hard choices—including a climactic showdown with Baxterhouse.

Praise for Unbound Justice:

“Well written and thoroughly enjoyable is this Australiana tale set in old Sydney town and the New South Wales gold rush, a vivid background of those early days of European settlement – and all the drinking, hard work, treachery and jostling for position that was mandatory in those times. You warm to the characters as they make their way in this new land. More of it!”

– by Wendy O’Hanlon, Australian Provincial Newspapers.”

“Unbound Justice has a rich cast of characters and is well written and enjoyable. I can’t wait  to read Michael Beashel’s second and third volumes.”

– by Peter Campbell, Afloat Magazine”