EXCERPT: Lifeblood by Lee Murray

I’m very excited to bring you an excerpt from Lifeblood, a story I love written by an author from across the dutch, Lee Murray. Her depiction of colonial New Zealand is just bloody magnificent. Without further waffle, go on, get stuck in.

Lifeblood

Lee Murray

Nikola Silich drove his gum-spear into the ground and let it stand upright while he bent to lift the clod from the ditch. Crouched in the trench, he weighed the blackened lump in his hand, then rubbed at it with his thumbnail. What would he find beneath the grunge? Would there be a droplet of the kauri’s lifeblood, a golden bead of tree-sap, petrified for years and years beneath the soil and turned as dark and rich as good wine?

His heart skipped and he breathed deep, his nostrils filling with the smoke of burning mānuka bushes. In his head, he whispered, Please, let it be good.

The size wasn’t bad. Not massive—Nikolai had heard tell of a slab of gum the size of three well-fed men—but it was big enough to cover Nik