Ony The Brave Dare by Christopher J. Holcroft

Canyon by Christopher J. Holcroft


Christopher J. Holcroft OAM, RFD, JP  


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'A Heart-Warming Story'

One Last Concert is a spiritual story of choir boys from the UK travelling Down Under to Australia to perform a series of concerts.

On the way to the airport a tragic accident occurs. Their young lives are taken from them in a matter of seconds.

The boy’s spirits are trapped between worlds.

As the new owners of the boys’ church move in, Mr. John Sutton and his wife Melanie, the boys see it as an opportunity to communicate to him by making their presence felt. And, by explaining they are stuck on Earth.

John comes up with an idea and is on a mission to help move the boys on, set their spirits free, and give closure.

One Last Concert was a beautiful, heart-warming story.

I could not stop thinking about the book after I had finished reading it.

It was incredibly moving.

I often wonder how I would have coped if it was myself being a parent to one of the boys, due to the tragic circumstances.

I would recommend suitable reading Teens and up.

 Lynne Butterfield

Liverpool, NSW



Success Through An Open Mind


Finding Thomas, written by Christopher J. Holcroft from the beginning to the very end is a real page turner.

The book combines the love and trust of two young people - one alive today and the other who died a decade ago.

Their friendship grows when both their fathers are caught in a murderous plot by a crooked Police Commissioner.

Mystery, corruption and pure courage gives our hero Kit the ability to bridge the seemingly impossible and allow communication between him and his best friend which results in intrigue and a major disruption within the Australian community.

At the conclusion, Kit finds he has a continued relationship with his spirit guides we can only marvel at.



Jim Reynolds

Hammondville, NSW



'A Thoroughly Enjoyable Read'


Christopher Holcroft’s Finding Thomas is one of his three afterlife tales; the others being Time Voyager and One Last Concert.

In Finding Thomas, Christopher Holcroft incorporates his research into the existence of afterlife spirit guides, as well as visits from the recently departed. Holcroft’s central character Kit, who experiences an out-of-body (near-death) experience whilst on a surgery operating table, employs the talents of Kit’s afterlife visitors to thwart a crooked Police Commissioner’s homicide attempt on Kit’s father.

Holcroft’s explanation of spirit guides is addressed in the novel’s acknowledgements, which is helpful in understanding the presence of Kit’s spirit guide Thomas, who died in the 19th century.

Holcroft makes use of more-recently departed spirits in developing this intriguing crime thriller.

Christopher Holcroft lost two brothers while writing Finding Thomas, and the influence of those deaths and the ‘presence’ of spirit guides (again see the novel’s acknowledgments) is evident in the plot. A thoroughly enjoyable read.


 Keith Fraser

Tamborine Mountain, Queensland





'The Intrigue Necessary To Draw The Reader'


Christopher Holcroft’s One Last Concert is one of his three afterlife tales; the others being Time Voyager and Finding Thomas.

Set in a disused, village church in England, Holcroft paints a picture of a (or in this case many) parents’ worst nightmare when bidding their child farewell on a world adventure trip to Australia in order to perform as part of a church-based, youth choir and then, never again seeing that child.

A tragic accident in the opening chapter creates the scene. The choir members do not reach their destination and more-importantly funeral services for their bodies are not possible.

Approximately two decades after the incident and with the youths yet to reach the afterlife, Christopher Holcroft introduces the lost souls to sound engineer John Sutton, who buys the church and ‘meets’ the souls.

It is through Sutton’s efforts that Holcroft draws the parents and lost souls together for one last concert, thus allowing the choristers to move on.

Holcroft’s delicate handling of what might be viewed by some as being interference, provides the intrigue necessary to draw the reader into the village and wanting to help the families. A thoroughly enjoyable read.



 Keith Fraser

Tamborine Mountain, Queensland








'Reader Encouraged To Research Events'


Christopher Holcroft’s Time Voyager is one of his three afterlife tales; the others being One Last Concert and Finding Thomas.

This intriguing account of a Sydney youth (Connor), who, in the 21st century, has flashbacks to a similarly-aged youth Andrew’s real-life experiences of a being on board HMAS Voyager, when in 1964 in one of Australia’s worst peace-time, maritime disasters, she was cut in half by HMAS Melbourne.

Seaman Andrew West was one of 67 sailors, together with 14 officers, who perished in the collision.

Andrews’s body was never recovered, but it seems that his soul had unfinished business that required some human intervention.

Through modern-day Connor’s flashback, Holcroft cleverly closes the loop on some vagaries of the disaster and, more importantly, reconnects Andrew with his estranged parents thus allowing Andrew to move on to the afterlife.

Whilst not purporting to be an historical novel, Holcroft’s account encourages the reader to research the events leading up to the actual collision and the aftermath, which included two Royal Australian Navy Inquiries.

I thoroughly enjoyed Holcroft’s story, so much so that I also read his other two after-life novels.


Keith Fraser

Tamborine Mountain, Queensland








Empathy For A Village That Lost Its 'Voice'

One Last Concert is a feel good book most people at the moment are looking for as there is too much violence and mayhem on the streets.

 I found when going into the book I was venturing into the unknown and as things progressed, I became more and more engrossed in the story.


In another time, I was a Police Officer who dealt with death on a regular basis. I have always felt a lot of empathy for the deceased. In this book, I was brought again to feel a lot of empathy for the parents of the boys who who were taken so dramatically, so early in their young lives. I felt very sad for the entire village that had lost its heart.


When people have died in various accidents and misadventures, I haven’t felt much for them. Instead, I felt for those left behind to mourn their lost ones and had empathy for them. 


One Last Concert took me on a journey of semi-reality in which the deceased boys in the story hadn’t finished their life’s ambitions before they were taken. Also, music has played a large part in my life. The music portrayed in the book was well researched by the author and provided a good emotional accompaniment.


The book provided an emotional outlook I had been searching for, for some time.


Jim Reynolds

Hammondville, NSW



'Thought Provoking And Challenging'


In Time Voyager, the third in his afterlife series, Australian author Christopher Holcroft has hit his writing straps. 

The writing is fluent and not overly repetitive while, as the story romps along, the words sail off the page like spray from a Manly Ferry’s bow.

 Holcroft gives the story’s premise great plausibility by anchoring it to the historical fact of the Royal Australian Navy’s worst peacetime naval accident:  the sinking of HMAS Voyager off Jervis Bay, on the New South Wales south coast, in 1964 with the loss of 82 lives. 

 The Voyager incident is etched in the mind of many Australians who were alive at the time.  Holcroft cleverly uses this widespread knowledge of the incident to bring a genuine feeling of reality to Time Voyager’s story.  He strengthens this by giving Time Voyager a modern day setting in and around Sydney and its harbour.  The use of locations and activities familiar to Sydneysiders and visitors gives further life to the story.

 The story begins as our central character, Connor McBride, struggles to understand the reasons for his recurring nightmares during his transition from school to his chosen vocation of working on Sydney ferries.

As the story begins Connor searches within himself to decide what course he should set to uncover the reason for his nightmares. With the support of his parents and his close friend Darren, Connor seeks professional assistance to unlock his nightmares.  Under hypnosis, Connor regresses to a past life as a sailor.  When he learns that the nightmares are anchored in the reality of the Voyager incident Connor reaches out to Voyager survivors for assistance.  As the story unfolds and evolves, we discover that two lives, one past and one present, appear to have been merged into one.  As the story progresses, nightmares are replaced by dreams and fond recollections of an earlier short, but well lived, life.

 With a sense of clarity emerging Connor determines to set the story straight for those left behind and those who were yet to be born at the time of the Voyager incident.

 In Time Voyager, Holcroft sails a steady course as he gives us an afterlife story that is thought provoking, challenging, and ultimately very satisfying.

 Robert Hodge

 Sydney, NSW




'The Book Was Hard To Put Down'


An excellent book to get for a present for someone who loves reading is called One Last Concert by Christopher J. Holcroft.

I can say I normally don't read, but the book was hard to put down.


Susan Weyland

Sydney, NSW








'Helpful For Others Seeking Answers'


I liked the storyline for Time Voyager.

I liked the fact the characters came into play in their time when they were supposed to.

I felt for the parents of the two main characters as they didn’t have their boys there and couldn’t get closure after their sons died.

One of the things I found hard to fathom was how Connor was picked randomly to be ‘Andrew West’ when he was born as he wasn’t even related to Andrew.

I could picture every character in my mind and every place you described quite well.

It was interesting the number of cups of coffee and cake Connor had but when you think of it, sharing coffee is when people talk about things. Also, he couldn’t drink alcohol and drive after speaking to the various families.

I personally believe in people having lived past lives – not all people do. However, I found with Time Voyager it could be helpful for others seeking answers to problems they may have today that came about in another time.

Kathy Nesevski,

Sydney, NSW.






'Couldn't Put It Down ... A Riveting Novel'



Just finished reading One Last Concert.

Really enjoyed the story and characters.

Once I started reading I couldn't put it down (except to wipe my eyes). At times I nearly forgot that was a novel and not an actual true story.

At one point I was about to Google the event and also found myself wondering if I could source the music, you really had me.

Congratulations for writing such a riveting novel.



Jim Vouden

Sydney, New South Wales








Lost In The World Of Time Voyager


Sitting reading Time Voyager on a lazy Sunday afternoon I found myself unable to put down the story. I sat in my comfy chair to keep on reading the story of Connor McBride and his voyage into the past. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read sparking questions about previous lives and incarnations and the impact they can have on current lives.

A few hours later I surfaced to realise the sun had set while I had been lost in the world of Time Voyager and Connor McBride. Recognising the hero of our story Connor McBride held the key to the futures of three unrelated families just led to wanting to keep reading until the book was finished.

My family was ignored while I went along for the journey with Connor. A feeling of satisfaction enveloped me at the end of a lazy afternoon of time well spent completely enjoying the experience of the book called Time Voyager.

Nerida Pride

Richmond, New South Wales


'A Tale That Is Both Exciting And Harrowing'

An interesting concept is presented to a young man, giving him the chance to explore what appears to be memories, yet in a time he couldn’t have known.

 With the support of others he discovers a tale that is both exciting and harrowing at the same time, giving him strength and insight into his life today. What happens when your life crosses paths with another and becomes one?

 Past lives is a topic rarely given any credence in many circles, but this book gives the reader a tale that makes you wonder….

 Written with courage and compassion for the young man, this thought provoking book allows all to take a second look at those moments and feelings of déjà vu wrapped in a tale of discovery and action, inviting the reader to question …

Liane Curry,

Sydney, New South Wales


'A Great Book For Young People!'


Due to an accident in my past where I had what is likely to be called an out of body experience, I understand the ideas behind the story of Finding Thomas.

It is not necessary to believe or accept the premise of the mystics or seeing ghosts, to find this is a great book for young people.

Being here for a reason, such as being a mentor or leader for those around us, does not make life a burden and does make us a valued part of a community.

As others have commented - you just got to live life, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do.

Tony Melville



A 'hardened' Journalist brought to tears

Many thanks for your kind words with your advice, and your words  with your signature.  

At 2-24 this afternoon, I finished  reading One Last Concert having had to split my reading to about four sessions, due to a heavy commitment to other matters of late.

 I have found it a delightful story.  As a journo I have seen dead bodies — some even decaying— and covered tragedy stories, but have been able to handle these.   

 But I have to admit, tears come to me easily when I read about, or witness, happenings which reflect mass reaction to goodness, such as reflected in your book. That happened to me in particular around chapter 20, when matters were really building.  I think it was then I had to stop and wipe away tears in order to continue.

 Christopher, one initial  reaction to the story was a disbelief that so much could happen in such a short space of time!  Of course I came to realise that help was coming from elsewhere, but the immediacy of responses from everyone helping rather astounded me.  

 Of course it managed to condense matters to an exciting but obvious  conclusion.

 On your writing style, congratulations on your technique of telling 90 percent of the story in direct quotes, carefully constructed. Sometimes it seemed to me that you were cramming a lot of detail into these quotes, but somehow they seemed to work.   We the readers I think  probably spotted early the  success of the whole deal, but we still needed to read about it—even though it was an over-the-top finale.

Robert Suggett

South Melbourne



'Dream Fuel' For An Adventure

I enjoyed A Rite of Passage, it was probably the best Scott Morrow book yet.

Its more challenging and I felt it really spoke for itself, as well as making me yearn to go on an adventure. 

I felt that this was more ‘in’ the real world in comparison to the others and it comes from a different angle, but none the less it has a vivid way to illustrate the landscapes in your mind.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who needs something to do when the wifi is broken, or when its rainy. 

I have to say I was a member of Scouts and I read this book when I was on the Australian Scouts Jamboree. It was very wet, so when we weren’t playing some ridiculous card game I would read in my tent with some mates, also great dream fuel …

All in all a 8/10 book!!!



Hugo Biddlecombe

Scout, 15,




The Importance Of 'Planning'



'Canyon' has gripped me and kept me immersed in the wonders of adventure and danger.

This book is one of a kind in painting the picture of scouting and has left me without words.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel like I have truly been on an adventure.

It has also showed me the importance of planning as Christopher has yet again pumped his book full of information and guided you through the paragraphs without hesitation.

Canyon is a must read for all young teenagers who want a true thrill.

Hugo Biddlecombe

Scout, 14,






Christopher J. Holcroft’s book Only The Brave Dare is a gripping adventure of Scott, a young male who has joined Venturers (a level in scouting for teenagers aged 14-18) and is deeply captivating.

It is full of adventure and imagination just radiating from the pages of the book.

Only The Brave Dare innocently depicts the fun and games of being in scouts and working as a team. It is full of very useful information that is hidden between the pages.

I would honestly rate it 8 out of 10! If you enjoy thrills it is a must read!













Hugo Biddlecombe

Scout, 14,












Finished reading this wonderful book (One Last Concert) on Friday, started it on Wednesday! It should come with a warning to have tissues near at all times.

The characters are so believable I was wanting to Google the details of the accident and I will buy a copy of the CD from the concert!

Thanks for a great read.

Megan Van de Weyer, Sydney, NSW





'My Interest Grew With Each Page I Read'


Christopher J Holcroft captured my imagination from the very first chapter of One Last Concert and my interest continued to grow with each page I read.

What a beautiful story with an unexpected twist at the end!

Thank you Christopher it truly is a 'feel good' story.  




Robyn Dunn, Tarot reader and Tarot teacher

Bendigo, Victoria




One Last Concert 'Gave Me Goosebumps'


I thoroughly enjoyed reading One Last Concert.

It had me laughing, in tears, gave me goosebumps and the twist at the end surprised me.

A heartwarming tale of newcomers fitting in, community spirit and connection; how a sense of purpose brings people together.

Nikki Kelly

Renown Australian Children's Author




Finding Thomas Was Hard To Put Down

I was far too engrossed to put this book down even for a short period of time.

Finding Thomas was well researched and true to my beliefs on mediums and the afterlife.

I can't recommend it highly enough!

Well done Christopher J Holcroft. I can't wait to read the next one.


Robyn Dunn, Tarot reader and Tarot teacher

                                                            - Bendigo, Victoria


It Could Have Happened To Me


I liked One Last Concert very much and it brought back memories of lost friends.

The plot Holcroft lays out could have happened to me after I lost some dear friends in tragic circumstances. It was believable to read about the spirits of people stuck between heaven and earth - it's not something totally fiction.

The idea of having a number of people perform songs throughout the book was very captivating. It makes the story more interesting and believable.

One Last Concert gives us hope of a link between us and the loved ones that have left us on this earthly journey.

The book left me with hope and I recommend it for everyone.

Luke Bigovic


Finding Thomas - A Top Read!


Finding Thomas was a lot more interesting than I at first thought it would be as I thought there may be a lot more fiction and I'm not too much into fiction.

Holcroft has drawn on real life to construct and build up his story and I like his constant referring to reality as it could happen in our own lives.

This book reads more like reality than fiction. I enjoyed the story and Holcroft's inspiration for writing it.

I was lucky being at the book launch and I really love the book. It is top reading and I recommend it.

Holcroft's idea of people having a 'near death experience' is interesting and should, from a scientific point of view, be investigated.


Luke Bigovic


'Spine Tingling And Full Of Surprises'


One Last Concert by Christopher J. Holcroft is an interesting read that keeps the reader wanting to know more.

Holcroft uses his military background to share with us his leadership skills and teamwork as a village and then nation pulls together to help others.

The journey we go on in One Last Concert is also a spiritual one as we learn how those who haven't crossed over communicate with us and how some are left with unfinished business.

One Last Concert is a delightful read that is heartwarming, spine tingling and full of surprises till the end

Allana-May Cunneen.







St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

30th May 2013

By Monica Heary

FIVE-TIMES novelist Christopher J. Holcroft used a simple theory when he wrote his latest book.

The theory was along the lines of how it was that so often a person enters a room feels a shiver down their spine - only to find out someone has died in the room.

It was this sort of experience and a theme of exploring what happens to the "spirits" of those that have died that has fascinated Mr Holcroft for some time.

After writing a trilogy of books in the genre of adventure for youth he wrote a book for adults about the "afterlife" with Finding Thomas about a near-death experience.

The former Fairfax Journalist said that following that book "the next logical theme was to look at what if you die suddenly or out of your time."

The result is One Last Concert that takes his interest in the spiritual to a different level.

The backdrop centres on 45 teenage boys from an English village who are on their way to Australia when they meet their end.

All the villagers had a son in the choir and the book looks at the effect of the tragedy on the village.

"What I have done is look at an entire community and how they can be helped to move on and to satisfy the grieving, how one must help bring about the moving on of spirit," Mr Holcroft said.

He took almost a year writing the book which included consulting several mediums.

One Last Concert will be launched tomorrow 7 - 10pm, at St Jospeh's Catholic church hall, Parker Street Rockdale.

The book is published by Infinity Publishing (US) and costs $20 from buybooksontheweb.com

Details: christopherholcroft.net/concert.html






Emotionally Moving And A Wonderful Escape


Once you start reading One Last Concert, you get straight into the story line, the characters are brought to life with wonderful sensitivity.  

This is a feel good book, and great for someone who has lost someone, as it gives you hope there is life outside of what we know. I found the book to be emotionally moving and it was a wonderful escape from life as we know.  

A book filled with hope, community spirit and love. 

Anjie Lal




Very Enjoyable And Uplifting



I found One Last Concert a pleasure to read and a book that makes you really think about the afterlife.

It was quite intriguing how the new owner of the old church brought a whole community together to help realise his dream.

The book is an easy read and one that will make the reader think about life after death and what heaven could be like.

I found One Last Concert  a joy to read and highly recommend it.


Betty Sullivan



On the Edge Of My Seat!


So I finished your Finding Thomas last week and you asked for my opinion ... well I think you did a fantastic job!!!!

At first I had to get your voice out of my head when I was reading and there are a few times that I was reminded it was a teen fiction book and not for adults.

There was only one part I didn't like, and that was when they were all at the barbecue. I thought what happened was repeated too much in that chapter, but that's just my opinion.

And the ending ... well you had me on the edge of my seat!!

All round a fantastic read and I will recommend it to all I know who like a good read.

Allanna-May Cunneen





Genre: Fiction/Young adult
Title: Finding Thomas
Author: Christopher J. Holcroft


Thriller Finding Thomas Sheds Light On Death



Christopher J. Holcroft’s fourth written novel Finding Thomas is a well-tied package of murder, suspense, rescue, and adventure. I strongly recommend this book for teenage boys (around ages 14-15) because of the alluring sense of crime that is woven throughout the entire plot. Girls who enjoy books with danger are also encouraged to try this read.

            Right from the prologue of this book, Finding Thomas grabs your attention. It begins with a phone call, a sobbing mother on one end and her comforting husband who works for a politician on the other. Her shattering cry of her son being dead will immediately bring forward questions. From there on, the story only gets more captivating. The son and also protagonist, Kit Green, is miraculously brought back to life but after his revival, he is not the average teenager that he was before. He now possesses the ability to see and talk to spirits that have passed away. Finding Thomas now diverts the plot so that it has more of a supernatural feel. The deceased son of the politician (that Kit’s father works for) befriends Kit in order to stop their fathers from being killed by a shady police officer. And thus, their thrilling crime adventure begins. There are many twists and turns during plotline and will always keep you wondering what will happen next.

            This book is written in third person and therefore you can understand and read situations from the eyes of different characters, although it mainly is from Kit’s point of view.    As you dwell further into the book, you will start to love Kit Green and his wistful character. Holcroft has added many characters that you may be attached to and will cheer on as the plot progresses. Finding Thomas is one of those intense books that will never bore you. Although it may not be the type of book that you will be forever glued to but you will definitely finish it enjoyably. As mentioned before, typical teenage boys will take a great liking to this book but not all girls will enjoy it as much as I did.

            Christopher J. Holcroft has much experience with journalism, communications, media training, and complex public information planning and implementation. After serving 35 years as Venturer Scout Leader and member of the Australian Army Reserve, he decided to write adventuring boy-like novels, encouraging young men to read more. Finding Thomas is his fourth book, greatly inspired by the passing of his brothers and his belief that there is life after death. He is now married to Yvonne and has three sons. The family enjoys outdoor recreational activities such as camping and scuba diving.

Highly recommended by Reviewer: Iris Park, Allbooks Review Int. www.allbooksreviewint.com

Reviewer: Iris Park









St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

Book shines light on death



03 May, 2011 01:28 PMChristopher J. Holcroft

THE tragic death of his two brothers just eight weeks apart in 2009 led Christopher Holcroft, of Banksia, to reassess his beliefs about life and death.

One of the results of this difficult time is Mr Holcroft's novel Finding Thomas.

The book is about life, death and everything in between, as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy who had his own near-death experience.

Mr Holcroft had begun researching the novel before his brothers died, but the process took on a far more personal edge following their deaths.

"It has been a very cathartic experience," Mr Holcroft said.

He said his belief in an afterlife was confirmed by a dream he had before his brothers' deaths, along with visits to mediums and conversations with people who had had a near-death experience.

"People with near-death experiences told me about the white light they had experienced when they died," he said.

"They all described it as a place of great joy."

The main character in Finding Thomas is teenager Kit Green, who finds he can see and talk to spirits after dying and coming back to life on the operating table.

Kit teams up with the spirit of another teenager who has died to help uncover government corruption and thwart the murderous plans of a crooked police officer.

Finding Thomas is Mr Holcroft's fourth book, following three novels aimed at Scouts.

The book will be launched at 7pm at St Francis Xavier Church, Arncliffe, on May 5.


Details: christopherholcroft.net

Photo Caption: Crusading spirit: Christopher Holcroft, of Banksia, will launch his new book Finding Thomas, which looks at what happens when you die, on May 11. Picture: Chris Lane



A Rite Of Passage - A quick review


Review by Venturer Scout James Brown

Georges River Unit

Sydney, Australia


James Brown

When Christopher Holcroft gives you a copy of his book “A Rite of Passage” he grasps your hand firmly, looks you in the eye and says “always live the adventure.” Holcroft as a Venturer Scout Leader and as a colonel in the Australian Army Reserve is a person who has experienced his own share of adventure in his life. In “A Rite of Passage” Holcroft draws from his experiences and masterfully engages the reader in a classic adventure story that provides surprise after surprise as the plot unfolds. “A Rite of Passage” challenges young adolescents to put themselves in the characters shoes as they face adversity and challenges the reader to ask themselves whether they would have acted the way the characters had done.

A Rite of Passage is set in a time when Sydney is rife with bikie gangs and a growing antagonism between the “Ravens” and the “Eagles” threatens to open up into an all out turf war. At the same time that the bikie gangs are preparing for war a young group of Venturer Scouts are planning exciting activities including a rather eloquent formal McDonald’s night out with the local Ranger Guides.

But as the book progresses the two stories begin to converge as the Ravens look for an appropriate place to take on the Eagles. They find Cook Island, an abandoned fort that is coincidentally located right next to a dive site popular with the Venturer Scouts. On the day of the battle the Venturer Scouts, caught in the middle, are challenged to perform acts of great daring and bravery to save the Ranger guides, trapped in the middle of the firefight. This is the climax of the book and rightly so. Through the use of highly descriptive imagery, Holcroft paints the scene with great detail and allows for a genuine emotional response from the reader.

In conclusion “A Rite of Passage” is an excellent book for young adolescents both boys and girls. I, myself a Venturer Scout thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel and often found myself glued to my chair as I read in anticipation as the novel came to its thrilling climax.



Must Read For Venturers


Review by Venturer Scout Alex Baehnisch

Georges River Unit

17 November 2010

 A Rite Of Passage

A Rite of Passage is the final novel in Christopher Holcroft's trilogy about the adventures of Scott Morrow and his Venturer Unit. It is set in the harsh realities of the modern world with the story of Scott Morrow interwoven with that of a biker gang turf war which conclude with a gripping and heroic ending.

The novel follows on from Scott Morrow’s other adventures and focuses on him learning to dive and the ensuing dives. Scott is in the last months of his time as a Venturer and the task of courage exhibited by Scott in the climax of the novel can only be described as his rite of passage to rovers.

A Rite of Passage also incorporates the parallel movement of the Girl Guides, specifically the Ranger Guides as they socialise and interact with the Venturer Scouts. The two groups of teenagers are realistically represented participating in activities such as scuba diving and a formal dinner at McDonald’s. These interactions show the blurred lines between the two movements in the 21st century which is highlighted by the Rangers requests for more adventurous activities.

A Rite of Passage has an excellent story relevant to modern society and the challenges which await us, both morally and physically. It, as with the other two books in the trilogy are must reads for anyone interested Venturer Scouting. It has a suspenseful plot which will engross the reader till the very end.

Alex Baehnisch





Rite way to help boys feel good

Author Christopher J. Holcroft



25 Jun, 2010 12:00 AM


KINGS Cross biker gangs are having a turf war and decamp to La Perouse to fight it out in the relative privacy of Botany Bay.

But, the storyline goes, local kids including our hero Scott Morrow witness the violence and a "situation'' develops.

A Rite of Passage is the third book in the Scott Morrow trilogy by Banksia author Christopher J. Holcroft.

Holcroft asks age-old questions about heroism and how it emerges.

Teenage boys are asked if they would stand up and be counted when the chips are down and lives are on the line.

Holcroft, father of three adult sons, a former journalist, an Army reservist, and a long-time Venturer and Scout, understands boys and is perhaps sorry for them.

"We don't praise male teenagers enough,'' he said.

"We are quick to say how terrible they are, when we need to tell them they can be role models.''

Passionate about outdoor adventures as promoted by Scouts and Guides, Holcroft started writing the books because ``nothing was available about Australian Scouts doing Australian things''.

The first, Only the Brave Dare, was published in 2008, the Year of the Scout, introducing Scott Morrow.

Holcroft stresses that the books, aimed at boys aged 11-18, encourages them to read more, become positive and to feel good.

"Boys will stand up and be counted if they feel confident that they have the right training, and that they are supported by adults,'' he said.

The book will be launched at 7pm on Wednesday, June 30, at St Francis Xavier Church hall, Arncliffe.




A Rite Of Passage



Review by Jordan Aitken

1st Engadine Venturer Unit



Jordan AitkenA Rite of Passage details the latest exploits of Venturer Scott Morrow and his unit, his latest endeavour; learning to dive. Scott is already famousA Rite Of Passage for his escapades with the Russian Mafia after they captured his unit, and furthermore from his daring and brave rescue of a fellow Venturer and then a Rover during a canyoning accident.

A Rite of Passage is aimed at teenage boys to encourage them to read and experience more of life by getting outdoors and living the adventure. It should surely achieve this, because it is easy and pleasant to read and provides a simple to understand, yet highly insightful look into perspectives we wouldn’t usually see which could only be formulated by someone with great experience and knowledge.

We are allowed to see into the lives of gang members, which we are not usually exposed to through the media – we get to contrast our existing perceptions, challenging us to think more broadly about what we really know about people who are so often stereotypically portrayed.  We gain a better understanding of what goes on behind the badges in the investigations of police

A Rite of Passage promotes Venturing and Guiding movements in an accurate and positive light (although potential members shouldn’t expect to help fight the Mafia or dispel bike gang wars) by highlighting the different opportunities available through the movements. Not only outdoors activities like scuba diving, but social activities like the formal McDonald’s  which appeal to the target audience as growing, socialising people are featured, exploring the dynamic of the movement and the variety of experiences to be had. The novel also touches on the various formalities within the movements, adding to the accuracy of their representation.

A Rite of Passage touches on issues common to the targeted responder: balance of study and leisure (which Scott is forced to deal with), friendly and romantic relationships (such as those between Scott and his unit, and then that which develops between some of the Unit and the Guides) and growing up (taking on adult actions and responsibilities like leadership and bravery, and acting out of consciousness for others) and through the central character, Scott, we are shown that life can be hard, but manageable and there is no limit to what we can do if we set our minds to it.

Existing members of the Venturing and Guiding movement will enjoy examining this perspective on a part of their lives, Scouts and Guides can look to it as a taste of what they can (within reason) experience in the older sections and outsiders of the movement can see it as a written reason to look up their local group.

Most outstandingly however is the notion that ordinary individuals can, when placed in a situation that demands it, do extraordinary things. We, as responders, may not ever experience the crossfire of warring gangs, but we can, as average, everyday people, embark on our own extraordinary adventures by getting out into the world, challenging ourselves and trying something new – we place ourselves in the situation to achieve. It is within all our capabilities to try something new and it is through Scott Morrow that we can realise that.





CANYON by Christopher J. Holcroft



Poseidon Books, Burleigh, Qld. 2008
ISBN 978 1921406768

(Ages 12+) Told by an expert in the field of real life adventuring, orienteering, outdoor education and Venturer Scouts, this story proves the worth of team work in times of trouble, the importance of training and organisational skills, and the national significance of rescue management.  

A canyoning trip leads to near disaster but, because of the timely formation of a Rover volunteer network, an amazing rescue effort saves young Scott, who was initially instrumental in forming the groups, and his injured friend.

Though the story lacks the imaginative interest of fictional adventures, this true to life account will appeal to the young reader who prefers 'real' stories. Well researched and authoritative, Canyon, for its instructional nature, reads well, providing a good text for outdoor education groups and the like, and applauding the efforts of all Emergency Rescue Services. Mike, the Venturer leader, in instructing the young volunteers says, 'My aim is to ensure you can enjoy the challenges of the activity you choose to do and that if anything happens to you, you are self-reliant enough to get out of most problems or, you can get your mate out'. (p. 7)

Such is the tone of this novel.

Julie Wells





St George and Sutherland Shire Leader


The writing was on the wall


11/12/2008 4:25:00 PM

BANKSIA author Christopher Holcroft did not want to keep his loyal readers hanging in mid-air. Aiming high: Author Christopher Holcroft with St George Rover Scout Chris Gantert, 18. Picture: Elliott Housego

Seven months after publishing Only The Brave Dare, his first adventure novel for young adult readers, he has finished a second book, Canyon.

Part one of the series told the story of a Venturer Scouts unit, led by the unassuming hero Scott Morrow, which encounters the Russian Mafia while diving in a submarine wreck.

In the second book, Scott Morrow and the Venturer Scouts have an abseiling accident while on a canyoning trip in the Blue Mountains. Morrow must hold together the unit members while army commandos and Rover Scouts race to save them.

Mr Holcroft describes his series as "pure escapism'' and draws on his experience as a lieutenant-colonel in the Army Reserve, serving in the Middle East, Timor and Papua New Guinea, and 30 years heading Venturer Scouts units.

He hopes the page-turning yarn will encourage those aged 17-26 to undertake emergency training with the SES.

"The message is that it does not take a hero but it takes training to be aware of the dangers of the wild, and how to overcome them,'' he said.

The third part of the series will be available next year.

Details: www.poseidonbooks.com

St George and Sutherland Shire Leader 




When the Brave Dare to Canyon


Review by Michael Lee, 18 of Hurstville,

New South Wales, Australia

CANYON by Christopher J. Holcroft

Michael LeeCANYON by Christopher J Holcroft, is the second instalment in a series that follows the adventures of Scott Morrow and his Venturer Unit. The novel tells the story of a canyoning trip that places the Venturer Unit against the elements and forces them to make a life and death decision.

The book begins with the characters practicing their abseiling skills, as they learn to trust each other, in a controlled environment before they have to put these skills into practice in the most extreme weather conditions.

With meticulous detail the author impeccably describes the scene, painting a picture in the reader’s mind.  As the story builds in intensity the author switches between characters at different locations keeping the reader’s intrigue.

The book shows the important connections between the different sections of the scouting family, particularly the bond between Venturers and Rovers. 

Like Only the Brave Dare, the book is targeted towards teenage readers with a passion for adventure.

Throughout the adventures of the Venturer Unit the author highlights the importance of team work.

The novel is a suspenseful and entertaining read that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

CANYON is an adrenaline filled story that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all teenagers.

CANYON is available through Poseidon Books at www.poseidonbooks.com/





St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

'Dare to be brave'                           




29/04/2008 3:00:18 AM

Venturer Christopher GantertOnly The Brave Dare, by Christopher Holcroft, is a novel about Venturers on a camping trip who cross paths with the Russian Mafia.

The book begins with a Queens Scout presentation and then introduces the main character.

The world of Scouting and Venturing is described as the novel incorporates an emotional touch to the characters' interactions.

The novel switches between different characters in different locations with different roles in a fashion that is simple to understand.

Although there is the occasional violence, the author's description is acceptable for teenage readers.

Only The Brave Dare portrays the Scouts as an organised, independent unit with some of their feats and routines seeming almost unbelievable.

However, their feats and routines are plausible with the Venturers' training and experience.

With the novel being set for a younger age, and using younger characters as the main role players, Only The Brave Dare is a gripping read for any teenager.

Although the novel has several corny pages at the start, overall, it is a suspenseful and entertaining read.

The novel is definitely a decent, educational experience for any teenager.

Venturer Christopher Gantert

Phtoto by Carlos Furtado




Review Blog

Jun 17 2008

Only The Brave Dare

 by Christopher Holcroft

Poseidon Books, 2008 ( www.poseidonbooks.com )

(Age 12+) Described by the author as a modern Biggles, Only The Brave Dare is the story of a group of Venturers who uncover a drug deal by the Russian Mafia while exploring a wrecked submarine. Taken captive by the gang, it is up to Scott, an unassuming Venturer, to find a way to save his mates.

The action switches from the Venturers to the Russian Mafia in alternate chapters or sections, helping to identify the characters and what is happening. A more sophisticated reader may find the italics for different speakers distracting and the conversation rather heavy handed.

A fast paced adventure story, this will appeal to boys who are in the Scouting movement and the descriptions of the advantages of being a Venturer would perhaps encourage young boys to join the group.


Pat Pledger


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