In 1789 in Sydney Cove, the remotest penal colony of the British Empire, a group of convicts and one of their captors unite to stage a play. As felons, perjurers and whores rehearse, their playmaker becomes strangely seduced. For the play's power is mirrored in the rich, varied life of this primitive land, and, not least, in the convict and actress, Mary Brenham.
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Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty novels since. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, and Shame and the Captives. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush Boy, Searching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney.From Publishers Weekly:
The production in 1789 of a prisoners' performance of The Recruiting Officer provides the framework upon which the Australian author of Schindler's List and A Family Madness hangs this rollicking, thoughtful tale of his country's earliest days as England's furthermost prison. Amongst the tents and ramshackle huts of the first settlement on Sydney Cove, young Lt. Ralph Clark (a real Royal Marine who wrote a real journal) auditions such convicts as Ketch Freeman, highwayman, and Mary Brenham, thief, for the roles in the comic drama. Ralph doesn't dislike New South Wales or his duty there, but he longs for his sweet wife Betsey back in Plymouth and determines not to allow distance to diminish his faithfulness to her. As rehearsals proceed, layered life in the penal colony unfolds: provost marshall Harry Brewer is plagued by the ghost of a young Marine private recently hanged for fighting; Sydney's governor captures, and is captivated by, a handsome young native; prisoners and privates steal and deal; odd alliances are formed and sundered; and Ralph is increasingly drawn to the quietly self-possessed Mary Brenham. Ralph's resolution of his dilemma coincides with the play's staging in honor of the king's birthday; both are successful ventures. So is this lusty and affectionate tribute to Australia's raw beginnings at the time of its bicentennial.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 60971894
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060971894