the Coral Sea
Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific
East of Java, west of Tahiti and north of the Cape York Peninsula
of Australia lie the unknown paradise islands of the Coral, Solomon
and Bismarck Seas. They were perhaps the last inhabited place on
earth to be explored by Europeans, and even today many remain largely
unspoilt, despite the former presence of German, British and even
Australian colonial rulers.
Michael Moran, a veteran traveller, begins his journey on the island
of Samarai, historical gateway to the old British Protectorate as
a guest of the benign grandson of a cannibal. He explores the former
capitals of German New Guinea and headquarters of the disastrous
Neu Guinea Compagnie, its administrators decimated by malaria and
murder. He travels along the inaccessible Rai Coast through the
Archipelago of Contented Men, following in the footsteps of the
great Russian explorer Baron Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay.
The historic anthropological work of Bronislaw Malinowski guides
him through the seductive labyrinth of the Trobriand Islands
of Love and the erotic dances of the yam festival. Darkly
humorous characters, both historical and contemporary, spring vividly
to life as the author steers the reader through the richly fascinating
cultures of Melanesia.
Beyond the Coral Sea is a captivating voyage of unusual brillance
and a memorable evocation of a region which has been little written
about during the past century.
Published by HarperCollins 2003 and Flamingo 2004.