[Editor: This review of The Yellow Wave (by Kenneth Mackay) is an extract from the “Literature” section published in The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 December 1895.]
[The Yellow Wave]
The appearance of such a book as “The Yellow Wave,” by Kenneth Mackay, commands the fullest consideration.
The story is, briefly — Phillip Orloff, an Australian, of Russian exaction, is in love with Heather Cameron, an Australian girl, over whom, by hypnotic influence, a traveller named Harden obtains complete ascendancy. Orloff, witnessing her destruction by Harden, demands an explanation from him, and, on refusal, stabs him. Orloff, being arrested, escapes by the aid of a Russian, Count Zenski, and enters the service of Russia. Orloff returns years afterwards to Australia in command of Chinese troops acting in consort with Russia. The reader then is taken through part of the campaign, the scenes being laid in Queensland, in which the valor and inefficiency of the Australians are depicted. The story closes with the deaths of Heather Cameron and Orloff — the steamer on which they were travelling being sunk in collision by a Chinese ironclad in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Although the interest in the story is well maintained, possibly the real value of the book lies in the fact that in a pleasant and able way it directs public attention to some of the great enigmas besetting the future of Australia.
It may be urged that the book appears inopportunely, since Japan made such short work of China in the late war; but no thoughtful reader believes the Chinese Empire, with its 400,000,000 of subjects, was more than scratched in the recent encounter, and that China will yet play a great part in the history of the world admits of no doubt.
The writing is fresh and vigorous, and the book generally so interesting that the ordinary reader will find it difficult to lay it aside. The Australian characters are faithfully drawn, but Mr. Mackay’s opinions as to the Russo-Indian frontier are not likely to be generally accepted; still, such matters do not materially affect the usefulness of the book.
“The Yellow Wave” is valuable, for it will make people think of topics which must be of importance to this continent, and is acceptable in adding another to the very readable books of the day.
It is issued by Bentley, and has several spirited illustrations by Mahony.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 December 1895, p. 4 (column 3)
Also published in:
Cootamundra Herald, Murrumburrah, Bethungra, and Bland Districts Advertiser (Cootamundra, NSW), 25 December 1895, p. 5
In the Cootamundra Herald, 25 December 1895, a copy of this review was preceded by the following paragraph:
“The Yellow Wave.”
The above is the title of another novel by the author of “Out Back,” Kenneth Mackay, of Wallendbeen, whom readers know well as the representative of Burrowa in Parliament. Some time ago we notified that “The Yellow Wave” was in the hands of the publishers; its publication, we believe, has been delayed by the result of the late war between Japan and China, which event, it was thought, might prejudice the sale of the book. The following review of the book is by the Daily Telegraph reviewer, and is complimentary of it:—
ironclad = a naval vessel whose sides were clad (covered) with metal plates, so as to provide armour for protection during warfare (such ships were especially used in the mid to late 1800s)
Mahony = Francis (Frank) Mahony (1862-1916), an Australian artist; he was born in Melbourne in 1862, and died in Kensington (London, England) in 1916
See: 1) B. G. Andrews, “Mahony, Francis (Frank) (1862–1916)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Frank P. Mahony”, Wikipedia
[Editor: Changed “and on refusal stabs him” to “and, on refusal, stabs him”, “Orloff being arrested” to “Orloff, being arrested” (commas added, per the Cootamundra Herald version).]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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