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Publisher's Summary

The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson sets out from England, in the summer of 1857, with an expedition to find the Garden of Eden, which he is convinced lies on the island of Tasmania. Unknown to him, others in the party have very different agendas, notably the surgeon, Dr Potter, who is developing a revolutionary and sinister thesis of his own on the races of man. To complicate matters further, the ship Wilson has hurriedly chartered, crewed by Captain Kewley and his secretive Manxmen, is in fact an ill-starred smuggling vessel, its hidden compartments filled with contraband brandy and tobacco.

As the vessel journeys haplessly southwards, in Tasmania itself an Aboriginal named Peevay recounts his people's struggle against the invading British, who prove as lethal in their good intentions as in their cruelty. This is no Eden but a world of hunting parties and colonial ethnic cleansing. As the English passengers near Peevay's land, their bizarre notions ever more painfully at odds with reality, it grows clear that a mighty collision is approaching.

©2001 Matthew Kneale (P)2001 HarperCollins UK

What members say

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  • Lauren
  • Eagleby, Australia
  • 01-08-13

Fantastic style, narration and genre

It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book so much. Although it's historical fiction, the narrative accounts of over 20 people are woven together very well to create a clear story of Tasmania's English settlement and Indigenous history. Humour is not forsaken, even in the tones and language of very Puritanical English settlers. The narration is superb, with a range of accents keeping the voices clear in the listener's mind.

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  • Gillian Stephen
  • 11-15-16

Ruined by being abridged

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I have both read and listened to an audio version of the full unabridged story. This is a clever and complex book with many interwoven threads. This aspect was totally undermined by this rather clumsy abridged version. I would not recommend this this book to anyone. Very disappointing.

Any additional comments?

Such a shame to abridge such a clever and complex novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful