As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school, he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home, his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope - against all the evidence - that he would one day find his place in life. By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet ...
As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school, he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home, his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope - against all the evidence - that he would one day find his place in life. By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales. As the newcomers struggle to establish a settlement for themselves and their cargo of convicts, and attempts are made to communicate with those who already inhabit this land, Rooke sets up his observatory to chart the stars. But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Rooke comes to know the local Aboriginal people, and forges a remarkable connection with one child, which will change his life in ways he never imagined.
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-07-13 Grenville (The Secret River) delivers another vivid novel about the British colonization of Australia, this one a delightful fictionalization of the life of William Dawes, a soldier-scholar who sailed from England in 1788 with the first fleet to transport British prisoners to New South Wales. Dawes's stand-in is Daniel Rooke, a loner with a passion for mathematics and astronomy who makes a living as a marine. He joins the expedition with the hope of tracking a comet that will not be visible from Great Britain, building a makeshift hut and observatory separate from the settlement (largely so he can avoid his prison guard duties). Although food is insufficient and the marines are outnumbered by the convicts, there is little unrest, but while Daniel shifts his ambitions from identifying previously unnamed stars to discovering a language and culture unknown in England, tensions escalate between the newcomers and the Aborigines, forcing Daniel to choose between duty to his king and loyalty to a land and people he has come to love. Grenville's storytelling shines: the backdrop is lush and Daniel is a wonderful creation-a conflicted, curious and endearing eccentric. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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