One would expect a young man whose single mother skipped town a couple of hours after his birth, to have a few problems, but Mortaumal [Mort] doesn't seem to, thanks to his grandfather. However, when that support is gone and foster parents fail, and there are nasty people demanding he do evil deeds...things begin to look pretty desperate.
From the age of ten to eighteen Mort lives with and meets an extraordinary variety of people, gets himself into and out of very hot water, sees rather too many people die, learns to defend himself both physically and mentally, and ends up unimpressed with humanity in general, while loving the few who come up to scratch.
This is a light-hearted, not too serious tale about death and dying, affection and callous indifference, independence and love somewhere in tropical Queensland. There's sentiment but not sentimentality, social criticism, excitement, fun and a bit of everything else in a fast paced yarn that suggests ways to live that are more interesting and natural than those we see on our screens.