The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1 Summary ê 2


The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1

Review The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1

Tages such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen being supplied with outstanding cups of tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney who despite being illiterate is his most intelligent companion Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river his beautiful wife Honora falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify When Honora dies it becomes clear she has been. This is a very fine historical murder mystery set in a 1920s convict settlement in Australia Meg and Thomas Keneally have carried out very thorough research to capture the feel and appearance of the settlement at Port Macuarie would have been like at that time Port Macuarie was where re offenders were sent those convicts who received their ticket of leave and then violated it's conditions or committed another crime Hugh Monsarrat was one such re offender sent to Sydney for forging documents and setting himself up as a lawyer in Exeter without the reuired ualifications After working as a clerk and gaining his ticket of leave he made a stupid mistake and found himself sent to Port Macuarie where he was fortunate to be selected to clerk for the commandant Major Shelbourne While he bides his time until he is free again Monsarrat settles into a comfortable routine starting his days sharing a cup of tea before work each day in the kitchen of the Major's housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney one of his few friends in the settlement While Major Shelbourne is away looking for a rumoured new river system a heinous crime occurs and Hannah is blamedI always enjoy historical fiction based on facts and this is exceptionally well done The authors have also drawn many fine characters in Monsarrat Hannah the Major and his wife Honora as well as the Major's second in command the intolerant and violent Captain Drummond They also portray the local Aboriginal community the Birpai with compassion in contrast with the soldiers and convicts limited understanding of them and their culture The plot was also well developed with a slowish start to introduce the characters and their backgrounds and then some hints of how the crime was committed but the culprit and motive not really clear until close to the end It took me a while to get around to reading this but I'm so glad I have finally done so and look forward to reading the next book in the series soon

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A fast paced witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg In the Port Macuarie penal settlement for second offenders at the edge of the known world gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom Originally transported for forging documents passing himself off as a lawyer he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant His position has certain advan. 35★“On the platform was the hangman like a burned tree in his executioner’s black”Port Macuarie NSW is a popular beach holiday spot these days but in 1825 it was a miserable penal colony hemmed in by the ocean and the wilds of the hills bush and the Birpai people It would have been a rotten life for convicts with the threat of the whip or the noose never far from their minds but it wasn’t much better for the soldiers and emancipated prisoners who’d earned their tickets of leaveMonsarrat is a very bright self educated man who was transported for posing as a barrister in England narrowly escaping the noose there We meet him as a “special” convict acting as clerk to Major Shelborne and enjoying a morning cuppa in the kitchen“As a ‘Special’ – a convict with skills which euipped him for than hauling timber and breaking rocks – he was tacitly allowed certain indulgences such as visiting the kitchen as long as he didn’t make them too visible”This is important to his well being than one might think Port Macuarie was a busy lime burning area where the convicts burned oyster shells to make the lime that was used to bind the building bricks Unfortunately they regularly burned themselves as well“It was a common jest – though a grim one – in the settlement to say that if you did well on a lime burning gang you might get a promotion to a chain gang”Monsarrat had worked on a gang for a short time and he reckoned it nearly killed him But enough of the miseries of life there the gangrenous feet that were cut off because their straw “shoes” were no protection in the constant mud or they’d been mercilessly floggedThe highlights of the story for me are the characters It began slowly enough that I wondered if I’d get interested but about a third of the way through I realised I was enjoying the company of this group especially Monsarrat of course and Mrs Mulrooney who runs “her” kitchen by scrubbing everything and issuing exhortations to the pots and utensils to behave themselvesShe cooks for the Major and his wife the lovely lively Honora Shelborne who is taken ill early in the book Fergal Slattery is a cheeky young Irish soldier whose life in Ireland was so harsh that he seemed determined to make the best of it here He often joins them in the kitchen for a cuppa with Mrs Mulrooney cheerfully mothering them both as well as her mistress“ ‘I have the King himself feeding me now and giving me a tour of the world besides’ he had told Monsarrat over one cup of tea or another”Most convicts who abscond are caught but one has remained with the Birpai people who have been surprisingly accommodating to the newcomers possibly thinking some of these white people were ghosts of their ancestors We get very little history about the Birpai because the story is about the characters and a mystery that eventuates rather than on dry historical facts I don't mean to suggest anything's been overlooked The sense of time and place are excellent and the facts we need are all there I’m no expert but I’ve enjoyed other historical fiction about that era and I can see why Meg Keneally mentioned the following in her acknowledgments“ ‘Mum’s gone to 1825 again’ was a freuent comment during the writing of this book”I’m glad she did and I look forward to her return and Monsarrat's in book 2 The Unmourned

Meg Keneally ✓ 2 Review

Slowly poisoned Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the commandant's second in command Captain Diamond a cruel man who shares history with Honora Then Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder Knowing his friend will hang if she is tried Monsarrat knows he must find the real killer And so begins The Monsarrat Series a fast paced witty and gripping series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg. As one would expect from the Keneally’s this is a uality read The story takes place at Port Macuarie NSW 1825 The main character of Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat is a convict clerk attached to Commandant Major Angus Shelborne Monsarrat is an intelligent man but whose past fraudulent and deceiving actions has seen him shipped to Australia as a convict in lieu of the hangman's noose; so on this count he is lucky Because of his past employment experience as a law clerk he has managed to avoid mostly the hard labour inflicted on convicts with only a small stint in this respect reuired of him With the Major needing a scribe Monsarrat has a relatively cushier position than most convicts However as with small settlements of this nature and given the times of ineuality Monsarrat is always cautious with his remarks so they are not misconstrued and subseuently give reason for any chastisement and further punishment The authors describe the method by which convicts in the main addressed an answer to a uestion which today is practiced well by politicians ie giving an answer to uestion without giving an answer and simply repeating the uestion as a statement or making a criticism simply as a statement The Major’s new wife arrives at the settlement fits in well with the harsh environment and commences to involve herself with the welfare of the convicts and their children until falling ill with an unknown ailment and for which she subseuently dies Monsarrat’s main confidant is the housekeepercook attached to the Major’s household a ticketed now free Irish woman Mrs Mulrooney Through a series of events implications of the source of Honora’s sickness points to a rather nasty Captain who is besotted with Honora but when Monsarrat bravely confronts him he denies any involvement With further investigations taking place it is deduced that Honora had been poisoned and for which implicates Mrs Mulrooney Not satisfied with this accusation and on looking back at previous events Monsarrat is able to discover the real perpetrator Through his endeavours even though the conclusion is a sad affair for him and Mrs Mulrooney Monsarrat is able to achieve his dream that for years had eluded him This read gives accounts of the harsh penalties given to convicts for small misdemeanours the lashings and subseuent imprisonment with only bread and water which must have done very little to reform anyone

  • Paperback
  • 384
  • The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1
  • Meg Keneally
  • English
  • 19 August 2017
  • 9781786073822

About the Author: Meg Keneally

Meg Keneally started her working life as a junior public affairs officer at the Australian Consulate General in New York before moving to Dublin to work as a sub editor and freelance features writer On returning to Australia she joined the Daily Telegraph as a general news reporter covering everything from courts to crime to animals' birthday parties at the zoo She then joined Radio 2UE as a



10 thoughts on “The Soldier’s Curse Monsarrat #1

  1. says:

    This is superb historical fiction written by Thomas Keneally and his daughter Meg It is set in 19th century Australia at Port Macuirie New South Wales a penal colony of convicts soldiers and civil officers Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat is convicted of impersonating a barrister in Exeter a profession beyond his reach despite his abilities and competence in legal affairs He manages to avoid being hanged and is transported instead to Sydney as a convict After crossing paths with a zealous and malicious church minister he is located to the penal colony He finds his indispensable skills being utilised as an administrative clerk by the humane and liberal Commandant of Port Macuirie Major Angus Shelbourne The Major's wife Honora implements a range of compassionate and progressive initiatives for women and convicts with the support of her husband The indigenous burpai are often treated as lower than convicts they are understandably upset at the level of exploitation and abuse of the natural environment Partly thanks to the efforts of Honora an uneasy truce exists with them and the colony with the Barpai often coming to the aid of the incomersMajor Shelbourne leaves with a party to meet an absconded convict who apparently has come across a new river with fertile territory The fearsome and cunning Captain Diamond is left in charge a brutal man with little in the way of humanity A camaraderie develops between the housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney Irish Private Fergal Slattery and Monsarrat over their daily ritual of tea drinking Slattery joined the army after his family were evicted by their landowner and slid into inevitable poverty in Ireland Honora falls dangerously ill and slowly deteriorates despite the ministrations of Mrs Mulrooney Diamond displays his brutal violence with a Irish boy who absconds and turns his attention to Monsarrat forcing him to give him detailed information on the state of Honora This raises suspicions in Mrs Mulrooney and Monsarrat as to what lies behind Diamond's interest Honora dies and it becomes clear that she was poisoned The Major puts his close ally Diamond in charge of finding out the culprit and he points the finger at Mrs Mulrooney Monsarrat knows the housekeeper is innocent and is unwilling to see her hang Is he right that Diamond is responsible for Honora's murder? Or is someone else behind it?The novel mixes fact and fiction in this story of life in Port Macuirie as a penal colony in 1825 The hard life of convicts is described in detail accompanied with a social and political commentary as to how poverty and ineuality often lay behind their fate This is epitomised by Monsarrat a man denied his career of choice whilst he observes the incompetence of actual practictioners of law who rely on him to do their work as a gifted clerk A few years later after the end of this novel there are massacres of the indigenous Barpai The horrors and privations of this period in Australian history with the prevalence of death and injustice is well documented in the book as well as the compassion of some figures such as the Major and his wife Honora This is brilliant historical fiction that I loved reading Highly recommended Many thanks to Oneworld publications for an ARC

  2. says:

    35★“On the platform was the hangman like a burned tree in his executioner’s black”Port Macuarie NSW is a popular beach holiday spot these days but in 1825 it was a miserable penal colony hemmed in by the ocean and the wilds of the hills bush and the Birpai people It would have been a rotten life for convicts with the threat of the whip or the noose never far from their minds but it wasn’t much better for the soldiers and emancipated prisoners who’d earned their tickets of leaveMonsarrat is a very bright self educated man who was transported for posing as a barrister in England narrowly escaping the noose there We meet him as a “special” convict acting as clerk to Major Shelborne and enjoying a morning cuppa in the kitchen“As a ‘Special’ – a convict with skills which euipped him for than hauling timber and breaking rocks – he was tacitly allowed certain indulgences such as visiting the kitchen as long as he didn’t make them too visible”This is important to his well being than one might think Port Macuarie was a busy lime burning area where the convicts burned oyster shells to make the lime that was used to bind the building bricks Unfortunately they regularly burned themselves as well“It was a common jest – though a grim one – in the settlement to say that if you did well on a lime burning gang you might get a promotion to a chain gang”Monsarrat had worked on a gang for a short time and he reckoned it nearly killed him But enough of the miseries of life there the gangrenous feet that were cut off because their straw “shoes” were no protection in the constant mud or they’d been mercilessly floggedThe highlights of the story for me are the characters It began slowly enough that I wondered if I’d get interested but about a third of the way through I realised I was enjoying the company of this group especially Monsarrat of course and Mrs Mulrooney who runs “her” kitchen by scrubbing everything and issuing exhortations to the pots and utensils to behave themselvesShe cooks for the Major and his wife the lovely lively Honora Shelborne who is taken ill early in the book Fergal Slattery is a cheeky young Irish soldier whose life in Ireland was so harsh that he seemed determined to make the best of it here He often joins them in the kitchen for a cuppa with Mrs Mulrooney cheerfully mothering them both as well as her mistress“ ‘I have the King himself feeding me now and giving me a tour of the world besides’ he had told Monsarrat over one cup of tea or another”Most convicts who abscond are caught but one has remained with the Birpai people who have been surprisingly accommodating to the newcomers possibly thinking some of these white people were ghosts of their ancestors We get very little history about the Birpai because the story is about the characters and a mystery that eventuates rather than on dry historical facts I don't mean to suggest anything's been overlooked The sense of time and place are excellent and the facts we need are all there I’m no expert but I’ve enjoyed other historical fiction about that era and I can see why Meg Keneally mentioned the following in her acknowledgments“ ‘Mum’s gone to 1825 again’ was a freuent comment during the writing of this book”I’m glad she did and I look forward to her return and Monsarrat's in book 2 The Unmourned

  3. says:

    The Port Macuarie penal settlement in 1825 was a harsh environment led by Commandant Major Angus Shelborne one of the congenial of men who had run the colony But his second in command was a violent cruel and sadistic man named Captain Diamond and whenever the Major was absent from the settlement Captain Diamond made the most of his position Convict Hugh Monsarrat was a well read man and his knowledge led him to be the trusted clerk of Major Shelborne He was desperate for his ticket of leave so did all in his power to stay out of Diamond’s wayMajor Shelborne’s wife Honora was a lovely young woman who was doing her best to make life for the female convicts a little better But when the Major left the settlement in search of a rumoured river many days ride away Honora fell ill Her housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney nursed her and didn’t leave her side in the two weeks of her illness with Monsarrat spending time with Mrs Mulrooney and asking after Honora’s health His growing suspicions of what was ailing her worried him but when he spoke to the doctor about his thoughts the doctor dismissed themBut worse was to come and it led to a tense increasingly frustrating time for Monsarrat as he tried to outwit the devil before another innocent person was sent to their death The Soldier’s Curse is the first in The Monsarrat Series by Aussie author Meg Keneally and her father ThomasTom It took me awhile to become involved with the characters with the plot being slow and plodding but the tension soon ramped up and kept the pages turning I’m looking forward to the 2nd which is set in Sydney at the Parramatta Female Factory Highly recommended

  4. says:

    This is a very fine historical murder mystery set in a 1920s convict settlement in Australia Meg and Thomas Keneally have carried out very thorough research to capture the feel and appearance of the settlement at Port Macuarie would have been like at that time Port Macuarie was where re offenders were sent those convicts who received their ticket of leave and then violated it's conditions or committed another crime Hugh Monsarrat was one such re offender sent to Sydney for forging documents and setting himself up as a lawyer in Exeter without the reuired ualifications After working as a clerk and gaining his ticket of leave he made a stupid mistake and found himself sent to Port Macuarie where he was fortunate to be selected to clerk for the commandant Major Shelbourne While he bides his time until he is free again Monsarrat settles into a comfortable routine starting his days sharing a cup of tea before work each day in the kitchen of the Major's housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney one of his few friends in the settlement While Major Shelbourne is away looking for a rumoured new river system a heinous crime occurs and Hannah is blamedI always enjoy historical fiction based on facts and this is exceptionally well done The authors have also drawn many fine characters in Monsarrat Hannah the Major and his wife Honora as well as the Major's second in command the intolerant and violent Captain Drummond They also portray the local Aboriginal community the Birpai with compassion in contrast with the soldiers and convicts limited understanding of them and their culture The plot was also well developed with a slowish start to introduce the characters and their backgrounds and then some hints of how the crime was committed but the culprit and motive not really clear until close to the end It took me a while to get around to reading this but I'm so glad I have finally done so and look forward to reading the next book in the series soon

  5. says:

    Excellent I really enjoyed this book and tossed between giving it 4 or 5 stars because I am probably biased in that Historical Fiction in particular Australian is my favourite genre to read in the end I decided to give it the full 5 stars because I did thoroughly enjoy it This is my kind of book I got so excited when I noticed it on the shelf in the bookstore and read the blurb and upon reading the book I was not disappointedI loved the language the characters and the settings and the delivery was superb and without fault I can't wait for the next book in the seriesThis story is the first in what is to be a series and is a debut for Meg Keneally who worked in concert with her father author Thomas Keneally on this project a project that I am now very keen to followI don't intend to go into details of the story here as I know the blurb does that effectivelyWhat I do want to say is what an exciting story this was and a wonderful beginning to a new series by a new Aussie author I can't wait to read the next installment and sincerely hope it won't be too long in the makingMeg Keneally adds a uniue fresh voice to this genre which I believe has lots of scope for uality stories such as thisAustralia's diverse and challenging history has so much to offer this genre of writing without any risk of overkill there are so many stories just waiting to be told So it is refreshing for readers like myself who love these stories to see new authors venturing here Well done Meg Keneally I am excited at the prospects of to comeThe book is filled with fascinating examples of early Australian habits and lore and what might possibly be the origins of many recognizable sayings such as drawing the short strawMy favorite uote in the book was on the subject of the correct length of time for brewing the best cup of tea in short the housekeeper says I usually leave it for two Hail Mary's and an Our FatherLove thatHighly recommended 5★s

  6. says:

    I feel that I must disagree with the description in the blurb that this is fast paced and gripping I found it was a compelling read with a slow build up to uite an interesting outcome Although I enjoyed reading it and liked the story it wasn't necessarily a page turner I did however enjoy the wonderful writing and description of penal Australia and especially having been to Port Macuarie it wasn't difficult to imagine that time and place The Keneallys certainly did their homework and the accuracy of historical facts and the description of the land and time makes it a perfect read The characters were very well fleshed out and three dimensional I really loved Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney and Major Shelborne I even couldn't help but feel some empathy for some of the villains There were parts of this that reminded me of C J Sansom and the Shardlake series Overall this was a 35 star read and I will definitely be keen to read the next one

  7. says:

    The penal settlement of Port Macuarie in northern New South Wales is where the worst of the worst are sent including second offenders This is where we are introduced to Hugh Monsarrat formerly of London and Exeter transported for fraud and forgery His fine penmanship and skill as a clerk have landed him a reasonably privileged place at Port Macuarie working as clerk to the Commandant Major Angus Shelborne Monsarrat enjoys the benefits of his own little cottage and garden and a certain amount of time to spend in the kitchen of Government House taking tea with the housekeeper his good friend Mrs Mulrooney It could be a lot worse but still Monsarrat is longing for the day his second ticket of leave is grantedWhile the Commandant is away exploring the region for a rumoured new river his wife Honora falls ill and progressively succumbs to her illness Dr Gonville pronounces it a case of poisoning and the spotlight of guilt uickly falls on Mrs Mulrooney who has been nursing Honora day and night during her sickness It is up to Monsarrat to defend his friend and identify the true poisonerAlthough the first half of the book was uite slow I still enjoyed it as I got to know the main characters and became familiar with Port Macuarie Monsarrat is a fabulous creation; a witty intelligent criminal who you will empathise with as a victim of circumstance Mrs Mulrooney a free woman is uite different in personality but every bit his eual in intellect Think the Holmes Watson of 1820s NSW I look forward to reading what they get up to next

  8. says:

    This is a book that I had been looking forward to for uite a while and it completely exceeded all the expectations I had for it Book one in the Monsarrat series set in the 1820's ish The Soldiers Curse introduces us to Hugh Monsarrat deported to Sydney for forging documents and passing himself off as a lawyer Following his release there he made an error of judgementt that landed him in Port Macuarie a convict once and this time in a settlement designed for reoffenders and so harder than Sydney For this second sentence Hugh is serving as the clerk for the settlement’s commandant and while he is in many ways in a very favourable situation for a convict at Port Macuarie the life there is hard and hazardous Monsarrat yearns for his ticket of leave and his freedom As he serves out his sentence often lonely and always constrained by his conflicting status on one hand a 'gentleman' and a clerk on the other hand a convict one of his social contacts and unlikely comforters is the other main protagonist that will continue with the series Hannah Mulrooney A free woman originally deported for minor crimes she is now the housekeeper for the commandant and his lovely young bride When the commandant’s wife dies the second in command tries to pin the murder on Mrs Mulrooney and Hugh must intervene to prevent her from hangingThat is the story line and it is a very satisfying story line which has all the right combinations of complexity and simplicity to make the story roll but the real joys in this book lie in elements beyond the actual story line or the excellent characterisations of the main characters and the diverse fascinating and well researched elements of the many secondary players in the drama It is really the setting the attention to historical detail and the impressive knowledge of the times and circumstances that won me over I loved the descriptions of Port Macuarry and the details of the daily life of the convicts I found the descriptions of the Birpai tribe of traditional land owners was fascinating and tasteful and the attitudes of the westerners towards them were managed very deftly It is difficult to write a work of fiction in that era or relations between British and Aborigines without being crass and offensive or hopelessly inaccurate This book did a pretty good job of it I thoughtSo while I was expecting a good yarn I also thought it would be a little formulaic and I was delighted to find it was not at all the case Vivid descriptive and innovative I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to in the series A enjoyable extra is the authors note at the back where the two authors go into sources and miscellaneous facts about the historical sources for the Port Macuarie penal settlement its maps and historic figures as well as other details that helped flesh out this extremely enjoyable historic whodunnit

  9. says:

    As one would expect from the Keneally’s this is a uality read The story takes place at Port Macuarie NSW 1825 The main character of Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat is a convict clerk attached to Commandant Major Angus Shelborne Monsarrat is an intelligent man but whose past fraudulent and deceiving actions has seen him shipped to Australia as a convict in lieu of the hangman's noose; so on this count he is lucky Because of his past employment experience as a law clerk he has managed to avoid mostly the hard labour inflicted on convicts with only a small stint in this respect reuired of him With the Major needing a scribe Monsarrat has a relatively cushier position than most convicts However as with small settlements of this nature and given the times of ineuality Monsarrat is always cautious with his remarks so they are not misconstrued and subseuently give reason for any chastisement and further punishment The authors describe the method by which convicts in the main addressed an answer to a uestion which today is practiced well by politicians ie giving an answer to uestion without giving an answer and simply repeating the uestion as a statement or making a criticism simply as a statement The Major’s new wife arrives at the settlement fits in well with the harsh environment and commences to involve herself with the welfare of the convicts and their children until falling ill with an unknown ailment and for which she subseuently dies Monsarrat’s main confidant is the housekeepercook attached to the Major’s household a ticketed now free Irish woman Mrs Mulrooney Through a series of events implications of the source of Honora’s sickness points to a rather nasty Captain who is besotted with Honora but when Monsarrat bravely confronts him he denies any involvement With further investigations taking place it is deduced that Honora had been poisoned and for which implicates Mrs Mulrooney Not satisfied with this accusation and on looking back at previous events Monsarrat is able to discover the real perpetrator Through his endeavours even though the conclusion is a sad affair for him and Mrs Mulrooney Monsarrat is able to achieve his dream that for years had eluded him This read gives accounts of the harsh penalties given to convicts for small misdemeanours the lashings and subseuent imprisonment with only bread and water which must have done very little to reform anyone

  10. says:

    Froggart and Daines looked unreliable and Slattery blamed them for looking like that But Monsarrat knew it had been bred into them – the powerful had proved to them that surface reliability got you nowhere in the end They were not characterised so much by sullenness a uality often attributed to convicts but by great wariness; their eyes were foxy because they believed they needed to be foxes to negotiate the systemHugh Llewellyn Monsarrat of Exeter is the clerk for the commandant of the Port Macuarie penal colony in June 1825 Originally transported to Sydney for fraud and forgery the educated but poor Monsarrat obtained his ticket of leave only to lose it by being found outside of Windsor after curfew his condition of release The Port Macuarie settlement houses second offenders with little chance of escape but has an enlightened commandant in Major Shelborne recently married to Honara from a noble Irish family who tries to make life better for the few women convicts thereAs a special status convict Monsarrat has certain privileges his own draughty hut with a small garden and he is allowed to visit the kitchen of the Commandant’s Irish housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney for cups of tea often finding there the gilded tongued Private Fergal SlatteryWhen former convict Kiernan living among the Birpai people brings news of a river to the north with pasture suitable for grazingcropping not reached by explorer John Oxley Major Shelborne sets out with a small party and a local tracker to verify the claim leaving his second in command Captain Diamond in charge of the settlement Diamond is a totalitarian given to brutality with a dim view of convict stock and the local indigenous people At the same time the commandant’s wife is taken ill nursed by the housekeeper who is accused of her murder through administering arsenic and Monsarrat tries to defend herI am not a great fan of historic fiction whodunnits and at times found this slow going especially the backstory of Monsarrat’s experiences in London Exeter and Sydney But this was compensated by the detail of the conditions in situ the lime burners and work gangs and summary punishments the clothing footwear made of straw the surgeon working with limited resources the women plying the oldest trade to survive and Monsarrat using a twig from a eucalyptus tree as a toothbrush It sheeted home that the troops guarding the convicts were as such “captives” to the same environmentOne detail I needed to look up was the king at the time George IV who as regent succeeded to the throne on the death of his father mad King George III in 1820 and survived him by only ten years I thought that could have been included somewhere But all in all not a bad read and sets the scene for later books in the series

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