Winner of the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Book Award, 1996
The year is 1788, the place New South Wales. Marine Lieutenant William Dawes has arrived in the Antipodes to build an observatory, reform the convicts and understand the Aborigines. He is a good man who will be subject to many temptations.
In England, now, a child is born. His mother knows he has extraordinary powers; his father knows he is a helpless cripple. Olla, defending and nurturing her miraculous son, emerges as one of the strangest and most compelling characters of contemporary fiction.
Jane Rogers intertwines the powerful dramas of the first year of the convict-colony with these present-day lives to make a rich and gripping novel.