The Soldier's Curse

Monsarrat Trilogy

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From the “greatest living practitioner of historical fiction” (Christian Science Monitor) Thomas Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg Keneally comes the first novel in a fast-paced, gripping, and witty historical crime series.

In the Port Macquarie penal settlement for second offenders, Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom. Originally imprisoned for forging documents to pass himself off as a lawyer, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement’s commandant.

His position has certain advantages, including access to the Government House kitchen and outstanding cups of tea from housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney, who is his most intelligent companion. But things change when the commandant heads off on assignment and his beautiful wife, Honora, suddenly falls ill. Only when she dies does it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned.

Monsarrat and Mrs. Mulrooney suspect the commandant’s right hand man, Captain Diamond, a cruel man who shared an intimate history with Honora. But when Diamond has Mrs. Mulrooney arrested for the murder, Monsarrat must find the real killer in order to exonerate this innocent woman and his good friend in this thrilling and whip-smart mystery.
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About the author

Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty-three novels since, most recently Napoleon’s Last Island, Shame and the Captives, and the New York Times bestselling The Daughters of Mars. His novels include Schindler’s List, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including his boyhood memoir Homebush Boy, The Commonwealth of Thieves, and Searching for Schindler. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney, Australia.

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, founded a public relations company, and has worked in corporate affairs. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children.

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Additional Information

Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Dec 12, 2017
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Fiction / General
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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International bestseller

Elderly and in poor health, Mary fulfils her wish to herself to live out her last days on Bruny Island with only her regrets and memories for company. A long time ago, her late husband was the lighthousekeeper on Bruny, and she'd raised a family on the wild windswept island, until terrible circumstances forced them back to civilisation. The long-buried secret that has haunted her for decades now threatens to break free and she is hoping to banish it once and for all before her time is up. But secrets have a life of their own, and as Mary relives the events that led up to the shattering revelation, she realises she needs to trust a later generation to put things right. As she steadily weakens, she imposes herself on the island's ranger, Leon, who is reluctant to become nursemaid to Mary and resentful that he appears to have little choice in the matter. He has problems of his own and the last thing he needs is another drain on his time.

Mary's adult children are respectively outraged, non-committal and sympathetic, but no amount of coaxing, pleading or threats will shake her resolve. Her youngest son Tom loves Bruny as much as his mother does, and can understand her primal connection to that wild island, a place of solitude, healing and redemption for them both.

Years before Tom had spent a winter working on a base in Antarctica and had returned from that empty loneliness to find his marriage over and his life destroyed. Not for nothing do Antarctic regulars call that gruelling experience The Division of Broken Marriages and Shattered Lives. Still wounded, Tom lives a simple life in Hobart, unable and unwilling to make real connections with people in case he gets hurt again. But then he meets Emma, newly returned from Antarctica and as open and welcoming as Tom is not. Will Tom be healed by Emma's interest, or come to terms with his first trip there?

As Mary's time winds down, both she and Tom must face their pasts in ways they cannot even begin to imagine. And Mary finds that the script she's written to the end of her life has taken on a few twists of its own. The Lightkeeper's Wife is a moving and redemptive story of love, loss and family, and what we have to do to live the best kind of life.
This is the captivating story behind Schindler’s List, the Booker Prize–winning book and the Academy Award–winning Spielberg film. Keneally tells the tale of the unlikely encounter that propelled him to write about Oskar Schindler and of the impact of his extraordinary account on people around the world.
Thomas Keneally met Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg, the owner of a Beverly Hills luggage shop, in 1981. Poldek, a Polish Jew and a Holocaust survivor, had a tale he wanted the world to know. Charming, charismatic, and persistent, he convinced Keneally to relate the incredible story of “the all-drinking, all-screwing, all-black-marketeering Nazi, Oskar Schindler. But to me he was Jesus Christ.”
Searching for Schindler is the engrossing chronicle of Keneally’s pursuit of one of history’s most fascinating and paradoxical heroes. Traveling throughout the United States, Germany, Israel, Poland, and Austria, Keneally and Poldek interviewed people who had known Schindler and uncovered their indelible memories of the Holocaust. Keneally’s powerful narrative rose quickly to the top of bestseller lists. Steven Spielberg’s magnificent film adaptation went on to fulfill Poldek’s dream of winning “an Oscar for Oskar.” (Keneally’s anecdotes about Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and other cast members will delight film buffs.)
Written with candor and humor, Seaching for Schindler is an intimate look at Keneally’s growth as a writer and the enormous success of his portrait of Oskar Schindler.
"Thomas Keneally recounts history with the uncanny skill of a great novelist whose only interest is to lay bare the human heart in all its hope and pain. As he was able to do in Schindler's List, he shows us in The Great Shame a people despised and rejected to the point of death, who in the face of all their sorrows manage to keep their souls. This story of oppression, famine, and emigration--a principal chapter in the story of man's inhumanity to man--becomes in Keneally's hands an act of resurrection; Irishmen and Irishwomen of a century and a half ago live once more within the pages of this book."
--Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization

In the nineteenth century, Ireland lost half of its population to famine, emigration to the United States and Canada, and the forced transportation of convicts to Australia. The forebears of Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List, were victims of that tragedy, and in The Great Shame Keneally has written an astonishing, monumental work that tells the full story of the Irish diaspora with the narrative grip and flair of a great novel. Based on unique research among little-known sources, this masterly book surveys eighty years of Irish history through the eyes of political prisoners--including Keneally's ancestors--who left Ireland in chains and eventually found glory, in one form or another, in Australia and America.

We meet William Smith O'Brien, leader of an uprising at the height of the Irish Famine, who rose from solitary confinement in Australia to become the Mandela of his age; Thomas Francis Meagher, whose escape from Australian captivity led to a glittering American career as an orator, a Union general, and governor of Montana; John Mitchel, who became a Confederate newspaper reporter, gave two of his sons to the Southern cause, was imprisoned with Jefferson Davis--and returned to Ireland to become mayor of Tipperary; and John Boyle O'Reilly, who fled a life sentence in Australia to become one of nineteenth-century America's leading literary lights.

Through the lives of many such men and women--famous and obscure, some heroes and some fools (most a little of both), all of them stubborn, acutely sensitive, and devastatingly charming--we become immersed in the Irish experience and its astonishing history. From Ireland to Canada and the United States to the bush towns of Australia, we are plunged into stories of tragedy, survival, and triumph. All are vividly portrayed in Keneally's spellbinding prose, as he reveals the enormous influence the exiled Irish have had on the English-speaking world.

"A terrible and personal saga, history delivered with a scholar's density of detail but with the individualizing power of a multi-talented novelist."
--William Kennedy
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