Fiona Duthie reviews 'The Torch' by Peter Twohig

Fiona Duthie reviews 'The Torch' by Peter Twohig

The Torch

by Peter Twohig

Fourth Estate, $29.99 pb, 459 pp, 9780732299019

Peter Twohig’s The Torch recaptures the tone and narrative structure of its prequel, The Cartographer (2012). The earlier novel is superficially an adventure story. With recurrent allusions to Tom Sawyer (1876) and Kim (1901), the plot alternates between schoolboy pranks and perilous situations. However, these adventures are tinged with pathos. Many of the events described by the unnamed protagonist are deliberately implausible. An underprivileged child is attempting to gain control over traumatic experiences including the death of his twin brother, whose name, significantly, was Tom, and the separation of his parents. He re-imagines the world with himself as the centre, the cartographer, seeing and knowing all, performing audacious rescues, and aiding and abetting a network of professional spies.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in May 2015, no. 371
Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a librarian at the State Library of Queensland. She holds a doctorate in Australian literature from the University of Queensland. Her articles have been published in Westerly, Antipodes, Australian Library Journal and the Australian Women’s Book Review.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.