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I enjoyed this book. It is set in Australia in the 1800s when convicts were still being transported and Sydney was still a rough and ready, a town just starting out.
This I discovered was the second book of a series but I didn't find that mattered as the flashbacks filled in any gaps.
The characters are a mixture of freed convicts, freemen and aboriginal people. The story is told through the different character's experiences but not in the first person.
Alice travels from Cornwall to join her love of her life an ex con falsely accused who is now a partner ina farm. His partners are another couple of ex cons married to each other. They are all the good hard working ones in the story but that doesn't mean that all goes happily for them as you might have thought.
Eloise is married to a scoundrel in the army who treats her really badly. The army officer raped a girl and he was then sent out into the bush for a while. He favourite past time is cleansing the land of aboriginal people which he does both manically and thoroughly.
The aboriginal lad we follow escapes from one of these routs as a child and it is through his story we hear a bit about the aboriginal ways and history.
A whaling captain and sailor who is the son a free settlers in Sydney is another character whose story we follow. This takes us whaling and back to Sydney and he is also part of the love story too.
A very smart man from South Africa arrives on the same ship as Alice and he is an efficient gambler who causes Eloise's husband Cadawaller to lose rather too often.
There is also a group of Irish who suffer as convicts and who yearn to get back to Ireland and fight against the British. The descriptions of the punishments left little to the imagination.
These stories all inter twine to tell a story that gripped me and at the same time told the story of Australia's early settlement when the first fleet arrived.
I have enjoyed three of this author's books set in Australia and every one has been good and very different.This is not an author who write to a formula. The books are set in Australia but at different historical periods and different places in Australia.
I did find myself drawn into the different character's stories and I liked the fact that none of them were perfect. they were real people with anger and faults and who made mistakes, felt revengeful and so on.
I would happily read more of Tamara McKinley's books as all three of those I have read I have enjoyed.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Review of A Kingdom For The Brave, a novel by Tamara McKinley.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, ISBN 978-0340924716, 432 pages, published by Hodder Books, cover price £6.99.
A Kingdom For The Brave is the second book in a trilogy, however it can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel, as the plot is not dependant upon the reader having read the previous books. The novel is set in Australia and covers the period from 1795 to 1813.
The trilogy consists of 'Lands Beyond The Sea', 'A Kingdom For The Brave' and 'Legacy'.
George Collinson meets Eloise Cadwallader at the Governor's mansion in Sydney. He falls in love with her at first sight. Eloise is married to Edward Cadwallader, a brutal soldier who enjoys nothing more than rounding up and killing Aboriginal natives in the newly colonised Australia. The pair struggle to keep their mutual attraction secret. George has shares in a fleet of whalers and in an attempt to forget Eloise, spends as much time at sea as he can.
Unbeknown to Eloise, there is a very dangerous side to her husband's character and when the truth is uncovered, it rocks her world.
The story follows the fates of several families, the Collinsons, the Cadwalladers, the Penhaligans and the Aboriginal boy, Mandawuy. The characters all have a common link, which at times appears tenuous, however as the plot unfolds and the characters develop, the link becomes apparent.
Several of the main characters have arrived in Australia as convicts and the reasons for their transportation are very diverse, as are their ages. The youngest convict character is eight years old, an Irish boy who has been transported for supporting his older brothers in their fight against the British in Ireland.
The novel has a sub-plot as the story also follows the growth to manhood of Mandawuy and the struggle of Aboriginal warriors who fight against the settlers and soldiers to maintain their lands and heritage.
The plot is set against the tensions and political intrigues that were part of Australia in this era of history. Fast moving and gripping, this is a novel for those who like fiction based loosely on fact and a cracking plot!
~~About the Author~~
TAMARA MCKINLEY was born in Tasmania in 1948. She was adopted at the age of 6 by her English grandmother who brought her to England to finish her education at an all girls' boarding school in Sussex.
She has three children who were brought up in the Eastbourne area of East Sussex. Tamara McKinley has written 8 novels set in the days of early Australian pioneers, as well as psychological thrillers. Her books are published in at least 15 different languages and she has been described as 'Britain's best kept secret'.
Tamara still lives on the south coast of England but travels to her homeland every year to promote her work, carry out research for her novels and to visit her eldest son and his children.
More information about the author and a bibliography can be found on her website:-
~~Availability and Cost~~
My copy bears the cover price of £6.99. a quick web search brought up the following stockists and prices:-
~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~
I really enjoyed this novel, I should point out that I had not read any other books in the trilogy when I read this book. This did not mar my reading pleasure, in fact I am now intending to purchase the other two books in order to see what befalls the characters.
The plot is well rounded and has enough twists and turns to keep the readers interest. The characters are richly described, as is the Australian way of life in the late 1700's.
At first, I considered amount of central characters a little excessive, however as the plot progressed and melded them all together, the reason for the number of characters became clear. I felt that the storyline was well thought out by the author and the outcome of the novel was a surprise. This author certainly has a deep affection for Australia and it's history, which shines through the pages of this novel.
I would recommend A Kingdom For The Brave to others.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 May 2010.
N.B. My reviews may appear on other review sites under the same user name.