Fans of Victoria Hislop, Lucinda Riley and Fiona Valpy will absolutely love this captivating and beautifully atmospheric historical saga rich in romance, adventure and unforgettable characters from international bestselling author Colleen McCullough.
'Fast-moving and immensely readable... Back to the open spaces, merciless climate and sheer pioneering stance of the magical THE THORN BIRDS, this book is a page turner from start to finish' -- Maeve Binchy
'A rich, compelling epic' -- Daily Mail
'Graphically created... [McCullough is] at her best when at the heart of a relationship' -- Daily Express
'A good yarn... based on rigorous, historical research' -- Belfast Telegraph
'Colleen McCullough is a great storyteller' -- Sunday Mail
'Spellbinding' -- ***** Reader review
'Beautifully written' -- ***** Reader review
'Absolutely loved this book could not put it down' -- ***** Reader review
It was one of the greatest human experiments ever undertaken: to populate an unknown land with the criminal, the unloved and the unwanted of English society.
Amid conditions of brutality that paralleled those of slavery, 'The First Fleet' was sent to a land no European but the legendary Captain Cook had ever seen.
These convicts - and their equally isolated guards - were left to live or die on the hostile Australian continent.
Richard Morgan - a convicted felon and educated, intelligent, resourceful man - finds the will to survive, experience the joys of love, and finally make an indelible mark upon the new frontier.
His story is both inspirational and heartwarming and will stay with you long after you finish the last page...
HMcCullough's narrative skills are fully displayed in this intricately researched, passionate epic of 18th-century England's colonization of Australia, in which an upright Bristol tavernkeeper, Richard Morgan, becomes one of the first British convicts to be sent to the rugged new prison colony of Botany Bay. It is not enough that Morgan is struggling with grief, having lost his wife and two children in three separate tragedies. He discovers that his employer is scamming the government of excise taxes, but when he reports the fraud, he becomes the target of the distiller's revenge. Framed for robbery and extortion, he is arrested and thrown into prisonDa hellish pit of overcrowding, disease and filthDthen convicted and sentenced to seven years transportation on the infamous slaver ships bound for Australia; the success of the American Revolution has closed the New World to England's unwanted population. During the horrific sea journey, Morgan becomes a leader among the men, protecting handsome Fourth Mate Stephen Donovan (called a Miss Molly by the crew), and forging a friendship that will last a lifetime. Once in Port Jackson (later Sydney), Morgan becomes indispensable as a skilled worker and master gunsmith. He is soon moved to spectacular Norfolk Island, where there is fertile soil, food aplenty and happiness in love. Summoning the intimate acquaintance with her native Australian landscape familiar to readers of The Thorn Birds, and the mastery of meticulous detail that distinguishes her series on Roman history (Caesar, etc.), McCullough blends local color, extraordinary characters, ethnic tensions (between Irish, Scots, Welsh and Englishmen), grand descriptive passages and even seamen's thick dialects into a complex, consistently entertaining narrative. The strength and resilience of her unforgettable hero makes this animated tale one of McCullough's best to date.