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Beyond the Dream
It is summer in the Ukraine and, for wheat farmers, it is time to transport their grain to the markets in the port city of Sevastopol. But the wheat caravan needs to survive the risky journey which begins near the capital, Kiev. Hungry peasants, forced from their farms by unscrupulous and unpopular landlords, form gangs and grain caravans are a prime target.
One family group, the Chumakovs, offer to become protectors of these caravans. As merchant warriors it is their responsibility to ensure the safe passage of the wheat. But thieves are not the families’ only foe. Neighbouring Poland has had its eyes on the Ukraine for many years. The fertile steppe zone is not only a provider of quality wheat, it is also a buffer zone against long-time enemy, Russia. For the Poles, the control they want over the Ukraine can be achieved if they can unify the country in a common religion. The Poles have adopted a form of Catholicism, different to that of Rome, and, more importantly, different in many ways to Russian Orthodox which dominates those societies to Poland’s east.
The Chumakovs belong to the Uniate Church, not unlike Russian Orthodox, but independent. They resent Polish interference. Following a desperate push by the Poles to enforce Catholicism, the Chumakov clan is forced to flee. They trek across the mighty Carpathian mountain range in a bid to reach the Swabian region of Germany. Here they resurrect their lives, but once again religious conflict forces them to reassess lifestyle. After a thirty year religious war which claims half of Germany’s male population, the families migrate to Ireland.
Far from being a safe haven, this island is in the grip of rebellion. The harsh measures imposed on locals by the Cromwell invasion have created a deep hatred by the Catholic Irish of the Anglican English. It is into this turmoil that more than eight hundred Swabian families try to seek a better existence.
This story traces the life story of the Chumakovs over a period of four hundred years before their final embarkation for distant Australia in 1841.
John Shumack was born and educated in Canberra before becoming a senior executive with a number of Australian companies. He also completed the Advanced Course at the Australian Administrative Staff College. He has travelled extensively overseas, particularly in south-east Asia. While the majority of his career has been in general management, prior to retirement he consulted to a number of companies in the field of strategic management. He is a keen follower of sport, especially in respect of cricket rugby league and AFL football.
His first book, Patriot of Evil, traced the lives of two Lithuanian youths rebelling against the injustices to their homeland.
John now lives on a small property in southern Tasmania with his wife Margaret. They have three children, all living in Perth, Western Australia.
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