'Adam Kulakov likes his life. He's on the right side of middle age; the toy company he owns brightens the lives of millions of children around the world; and he has more money than he can ever spend, a wife and child he adores, and as many mistresses as he can reasonably hide from them.
'And he is not the only one with secrets. In 1944, Adam's grandfather, Arkady, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and given an impossible choice. Now, as he reaches the end of his life, he has to keep the truth from his family, and hold back the crushing memories of his time with one of history's greatest monsters.
'As a mistake threatens to bring Adam's world tumbling down around him, the past reaches for Arkady. Everything he's spent a lifetime building will be threatened, as will everything Adam and his family think they know of the world.
'Bold, dark and compelling, The Toymaker is a novel about privilege, fear and the great harm we can do when we are afraid of losing what we hold dear. ' (Publication summary)
'Liam Pieper was raised by his bohemian parents to believe in freedom and creativity, and that there's nothing wrong with smoking a little marijuana to make life more interesting.
'A fast learner, Liam combined hippie self-actualisation with gen Y entrepreneurialism. By his early teens he had a fledgling drug habit, and a thriving business selling pot around the suburbs of Melbourne from the back of his pushbike. He picked up important life skills, like how to befriend a deranged jujitsu master, how to impress his girlfriend's mother by getting arrested in front of her, and how to negotiate pocket money based on how much he was charging his parents for an ounce.
'But from these highs (chemical, financial and otherwise), Liam's life fell to dramatic lows. The muddled flower child became a petty criminal and an amoral coke monster. After a family tragedy and then his arrest on several counts of possession and trafficking, Liam had to consider: had it been a mistake to adopt the practices of a counterculture without any of its ethics?' (Publication summary)