Succession (The Sandstone Trilogy #3) by Michael Beashel

‘Everyone needs a succession plan.  You and I are not getting any younger.’

Sydney, 1885. Leary’s Contracting is now one of the biggest contractors in Sydney and, when a massive hotel project is mooted, John Leary knows that his company must have it.   Almost thirty years have elapsed since the end of the second novel in the Sandstone Trilogy. Richard, his son is an adult now, and John and his second wife Catherine have three children: Brendan, Mary and Agatha.

Both Richard and Brendan work for Leary’s Construction, and John has been giving some thought to succession planning.  Who should take over from him: Richard or Brendan?

In the meantime, building the Imperial Hotel is not easy.  It will be the tallest building in Sydney, and there are several challenges to be met. Red tape is one issue, as is managing the different aspects of the build to ensure that materials are available when and where they are required. And some of John’s competitors are not happy.

Richard has some problems of his own to overcome and may not be entirely reliable.  Brendan can work with the workers to achieve the results required, but an accident threatens the construction and the reputation of Leary’s Contracting.  John has some difficult decisions to make.

This book is a fine and fitting conclusion to The Sandstone Trilogy.  The books are best read in order, to enable the reader to follow the characters, the growth of both Leary’s Contracting and the building industry in Sydney.

John Leary is an ambitious character. I didn’t care for many of his actions during the first two books, but I really enjoyed the way the story developed.  If you enjoy historical fiction set in 19th century Australia, have an interest in the development and building of Sydney, you may also enjoy this trilogy.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith



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