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FROM THE AUTHOR OF MARCHING POWDER. Blending fact and fiction, Colombiano takes us on a heart-thumping journey into the violent and unpredictable world of post-Escobar Colombia.

For seven years Rusty Young, author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, lived and worked in Colombia, interviewing special forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents and members of two vicious terrorist organisations – the FARC and Autodefensas.

During this time he was both shocked and touched by the stories of child soldiers he encountered. He vowed to one day turn their tales into a book and let their voices be heard.


In Colombia you have to pick a side. Or one will be picked for you . . .

All Pedro Gutiérrez cares about is fishing, playing pool and his girlfriend Camila’s promise to sleep with him on his sixteenth birthday. But his life is ripped apart when Guerrilla soldiers callously execute his father in front of him, and he and his mother are banished from their farm.

Swearing vengeance against the five men responsible, Pedro, with his best friend Palillo, joins an illegal Paramilitary group, where he is trained to fight, kill and crush any sign of weakness.

But as he descends into a world of unspeakable violence, Pedro must decide how far he is willing to go. Can he stop himself before he becomes just as ruthless as those he is hunting? Or will his dark obsession cost him all he loves?

Colombiano is an epic tale of rural villages held to ransom, of jungle drug labs, cocaine supermarkets, witch doctors and buried millions, of innocent teenage love, barbaric torture and meticulously planned revenge.

Superbly told and by turns gripping, poignant and darkly comic, Colombiano is the remarkable story of a boy whose moral descent becomes a metaphor for the corruption of an entire nation. Both blockbuster thriller and electrifying coming-of-age story, Rusty Young’s powerful novel is also a meditation on the redeeming power of love.


Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 31, 2017

    Bantam Australia

    592 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    July 31, 2017

    RHA eBooks Adult

    598 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory


They came on a Wednesday to execute my father. Looking back, I should have sensed something amiss during morning Mass three days earlier. The new priest’s maiden sermon had left the congregation divided – some bored, some irate – never a good omen in a small Colombian town.

When the congregation rose to leave, Señor Muñoz, the father of my girlfriend Camila, paused briefly in the aisle and leaned towards Papá.

‘May I talk to you outside?’ Glancing at me, he added, ‘In private.’

I was fifteen years old and in adolescent limbo: not old enough to be included in adult discussions yet not young enough to run off and play. While the grown-ups talked, I stood shiftily on the church steps with Camila and my best friend, Palillo, waiting for them to finish.

Continue Reading
Passion Project

Rusty Young discusses the inspiration that sustained his ten-year Colombiano writing marathon.

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