(University of Texas, USA)
Bali Burning is set against a chaotic backdrop- one of: political shifts in the United States, a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism, and Chinas drive to increase influence in Indonesia. The two central characters in this novel, James Langton and Hugh Rees, are boyhood friends who become lifelong enemies, operatives on opposite sides in the Cold War. Reaching the end of their careers, they are drawn into a final bloody confrontation on the island of Bali. This battle mirrors the confrontation between order and disorder - dharma and adharma - that is a theme of the islands folklore and myth.
Barry O'Brien has, like his main character, dual citizenship. He was born in Sedgley, England but received both his Master of Arts in geography (1956) as well as his Ph.D in philosophy (1958) at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is currently a professor of political economy at the University of Texas.