First novel for 5 years from Orange prize-winning Kate Grenville. Blanket review coverage backed by a major advertising campaign. A dramatic and evocative historical novel set between the slums of Nineteenth-century London and the convict colonies of Australia. Following a childhood marked by poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William ...
First novel for 5 years from Orange prize-winning Kate Grenville. Blanket review coverage backed by a major advertising campaign. A dramatic and evocative historical novel set between the slums of Nineteenth-century London and the convict colonies of Australia. Following a childhood marked by poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is sentenced in 1806 to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife and children, he arrives in a harsh land to a life that feels like a death sentence. But, among the convicts there is a whisper - that freedom can be bought - an opportunity to start afresh on lush, 'unclaimed' land away from the infant township of Sydney, up the Hawkesbury River. As Thornhill and his family stake their claim on a patch of ground by the river, the battle lines between old and new settlers are drawn. Whilst some attempt to reconcile themselves with the place and its native people, others fear of this alien world turns into brutal depravity towards it. "The Secret River" joins a tradition of grand historical action. It sensuously etches the intense light and scribble of the Australian bush onto the page, making them the backdrop to a story about ownership, belonging and identity - themes which are timeless and universal.
I listened to The Secret River on audio, and I was sorry when it was over. The story of the early English settlement of Australia is told through the life of an English beggar and condemned man who receives a gubernatorial pardon and free passage to Sydney -- along with thousands of others of England's poor. I can see why the Australian's love Kate Grenville: the story is vividly drawn and translated well into audio.
Apr 3, 2007
Loved this book
A wonderful summary of new beginnings in a new land encased in a hard to put down novel. This story is of a convict's freedom in a new land and his obsession for land. A clash of cultures ending in tragedy.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-03-27 Grenville's Australian bestseller, which won the Orange Prize, is an eye-opening tale of the settlement of New South Wales by a population of exiled British criminals. Research into her own ancestry informs Grenville's work, the chronicle of fictional husband, father and petty thief William Thornhill and his path from poverty to prison, then freedom. Crime is a way of life for Thornhill growing up in the slums of London at the turn of the 19th century-until he's caught stealing lumber. Luckily for him, a life sentence in the penal colony of New South Wales saves him from the gallows. With his wife, Sal, and a growing flock of children, Thornhill journeys to the colony and a convict's life of servitude. Gradually working his way through the system, Thornhill becomes a free man with his own claim to the savage land. But as he transforms himself into a trader on the river, Thornhill realizes that the British are not the first to make New South Wales their home. A delicate coexistence with the native population dissolves into violence, and here Grenville earns her praise, presenting the settler-aboriginal conflict with equanimity and understanding. Grenville's story illuminates a lesser-known part of history-at least to American readers-with sharp prose and a vivid frontier family. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.