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Morgan's Run

Colleen McCullough

4,180 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0786230835 / ISBN 13: 9780786230839
Published by Thorndike Pr, 2002
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Morgan's Run

Publisher: Thorndike Pr

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title


McCullough, Colleen


Take a long voyage deep into the 18th century with Colleen McCullough, a novelist for readers with a big appetite for historical slices of life. In Morgan's Run, her mild-mannered hero is a Bristol tavern owner's son with a God-given gift for crafting the Brown Bess flintlock musket. This is handy, because England plans to employ it to put down the mutinous American colonies. McCullough knows this firearm right down to the last flange and frizzen spring--how its .753-inch ball shatters bones and butchers bellies and how you have to work up a mouthful of spit, then bite the paper containing the powder to moisten and rupture it before firing. And like a master gunsmith, McCullough assembles all the elements necessary to give the novel flash and impact: rogues and heroes, salty dialect, period detail, vicious intrigue, comic relief, betrayal, and unexpected romance.

She also knows just how her master of the crafts of tavern-keeping and musket-making would fit into the vast mechanism of history as the American victory wrecks Britain's economy and forces the crown to send convicts elsewhere. Richard gets a job with a rum distillery, but his sharp-eyed efficiency undoes him: one day he finds "a number of pipes hidden among festoons of spider-web," one of which is diverting 800 gallons a week to dodge taxes, a hanging offense. He unwisely reports this, which lands him in a net of corruption. Soon he is sentenced to various convict ships anchored in England, and then to a slave ship bound for Botany Bay in the new penal colony, Australia. But save your pity! Richard rises to the terrible occasion. "Prison had given him a star to steer by, and his own will had swelled sails he did not even know he possessed."

Though McCullough doesn't quite reach the literary heights of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander or Robert Hughes's The Fatal Shore, she shares some of their virtues. Morgan's Run is a good old-fashioned adventure novel with the unflagging energy and raffish cast of an action movie. She considered calling it Morgan's Dirty Dozen, and it would have lived up to that title, too. --Tim Appelo

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