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The Lieutenant [Kindle Edition]

Kate Grenville
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope – against all the evidence – that he would one day find his place in life. By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales. As the newcomers struggle to establish a settlement for themselves and their cargo of convicts, and attempts are made to communicate with those who already inhabit this land, Rooke sets up his observatory to chart the stars. But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Rooke comes to know the local Aboriginal people, and forges a remarkable connection with one child, which will change his life in ways he never imagined. Based on real events, Kate Grenville’s stunning new novel conveys the poignancy and emotional power of an extraordinary friendship, and how through it a man might find himself: a story that resonates across the oceans and across the centuries.

Product Description


"'Grenville's novel is much more than just another culture-clash novel. She deftly avoids worthiness by making the idealistic Rooke the heart and soul of her story, making us want to believe that his appreciation of the indigenous Australians will continue and that dark clouds won't gather over this alien paradise. When they do, the novel becomes all the more disquieting, for this story is as much a personal tragedy as it is a cultural one.' Metro"

The Times

Grenville is one of Australia's most popular writers, and this novel is a triumph. Read it at once.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 461 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (2 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,533 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
I'm fascinated by the polarised opinions about this book, mainly 2-5 stars, with readers who have enjoyed Grenville's earlier writings, particularly divided. Some people dislike the England set beginning, some people dislike the Antiguan end, some the Australian sections, and some thought the whole package complete. I'm, just, one of the latter.

I was captivated by this story, based on William Dawes, a British naval officer of the 18th century, who as part of a group guarding transported prisoners, encounters Australia's original inhabitants and is forced to re-examine his own society's mores, and consider other ways of living, other ethics.

This idea has of course been examined now by many writers - Keneally probably most famously, giving rise to a stage version originally mounted at the Royal Court, but also Jane Rogers Promised Lands. It remains a story well worth telling

Grenville tells the story simply and sparely. The concept of the strangeness and uniqueness of language, and how one needs to appreciate and absorb the ethics and ways of thinking/feeling inherent in the specific cultures which give rise to their own specific language is beautifully done.

As I got towards the final section of the book, I found myself unable to believe its events. It seemed too `modern' too redolent of our current sensibilities, and I was a little disappointed with Grenville's tying up of the ends of her story....;....and THEN I read her afterword explanation and the story of the real William Dawes. So that was also a great revelation - people DO transcend their time, and it was my own limitation, in failing to imagine that the 19th century man could be so enlightened and subtle in his thoughts and actions, not Grenville's failure as a story teller.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of loyalty and endeavor 31 Jan. 2009
By Big Bertha TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Daniel Rooke is a child who at eight years old, due to his astounding mathematical skills is offered a scholarship to Portsmouth Naval Academy. He has difficulty interacting with the other students from privileged backgrounds and is ridiculed and bullied.

He studies under the guidance of the Royal Astronomer but unable to gain employment in this limited field he enlists in the Marines. Offered the chance to set up an observatory and watch for the re-appearance of Halley's Comet he travels to New South Wales with the First Fleet.

Whilst at the new settlement integration with the natives does not go smoothly, Rooke living apart at his observatory begins to make cautious headway with a few of them, in particular a young girl called Tagaran. His journey to New South Wales comes to a conclusion as Rooke is made to question his loyalties.

The book started slowly for me and it was when these tenuous relationships began to form that I really began to enjoy it. A compelling tale, the authors portrayal of Rookes relationships with his fellow officers, Tagaran and the other natives are well written and meaningful.

I found that the end of Rooke's time in Australia seemed to be rushed and this was my only disappointment in an otherwise engaging novel.

As the authors notes at the end of the book states, although fiction this story is based on William Dawes and his work.

A great read and one I'd certainly recommend to others.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy, well written novel 16 Jan. 2009
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Lieutenant is a historical fiction based on the story of a true life first fleet lieutenant. This follows on from Kate Grenville's previous work, The Secret River, which also offered a fitionalised account of early settlers in Australia - although from a convict perspective. It's inevitable that the two novels will be compared, which is a pity as it will do The Lieutenant no favours.

On the face of it, The Lieutenant is a worthy, well written novel. The main character, Daniel Rooke is three dimensional, caught in a dilemma between serving the crown forces whom he perceives increasingly to be unjust, or trying to establish meaningful contact with the aboriginal people. Rooke has a convenient antithesis in the form of Silk, a confident, gregarious and arrogant Lieutenant. And whilst Rooke is employed to work as an astronomer, Silk's task is to establish contact with the savages, as he calls them. Unsurprisingly, given his prejudices, Silk is not very successful, bringing him into conflict with his erstwhile friend Rooke. Yet the battleground for the challenge is the local language, and it doesn't always make for a good spectator sport. Long lists of words and phrases follow one another to the point that the central sections of the novel are almost as much in italics as regular type. On its own, this need not be damning, but against The Secret River, which was never less than engrossing, it looks like a misjudgement.

Again, perhaps The Lieutenant suffers from being too closely drawn to reality, whilst The Secret River was able to work without the fetters of fact. And I suspect the Secret River was a fair bit longer, allowing the characters to develop further, giving them a meaningful life in London from which they were separated.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flimsy 13 Feb. 2009
By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
'The Lieutenant' tells the story of Lt. Daniel Rooke, a junior officer in the Royal Marines, sent with an expidition to Australia to found the settlement at Sydney. While there, he meets the local tribe and begins to learn their language and in doing so forms a relationship with them, thinking of them as human in a way not shared by his comrades.

That's really all there is to it, it's a simple, nicely written story, but not really enough meat to it. It feels like a framework for a more in depth story, but as it is this reads as unfinished. Characters and motives are left unexplored and the really interesting part of Rookes life, revealed in the last few pages, happens 'off screen' and takes up less than a page.
'The Lieutenant' is a pleasant diversion for a few hours, but is a disapointing book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enoyable read.
Good read.
Published 5 months ago by janeP
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I love Kate Grenville's books, but they are not always a relaxing read. Brilliant descriptions and story.
Published 6 months ago by Elaine C
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Arrived on time and as described
Published 7 months ago by Richard G
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
The book was read as a Summer School project. Good
Published 7 months ago by M. rs carol Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read
Fascinating story, well told in simple and spare style. Characters all treated with a degree of respect and understanding, even the more unsympathetic ones. Read more
Published 12 months ago by grrrgirl
4.0 out of 5 stars Novel loosely based on fact
This was an interesting book about early days in Australia. It was well written but had a weak ening. Worth a go though
Published 13 months ago by F. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this
Excellent book, well written and with a fascinating story line about a bit of our history that we know little about
Published 14 months ago by B M Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Finely written and skilfully created central character. I liked it better than Lilian and Dark Places that feel cluttered and claustrophobic as they attempt to create the world of... Read more
Published 15 months ago by susan anne wood
4.0 out of 5 stars I want to learn more
I have just finished the Kindle edition of this short novel, which I enjoyed very much. The author has based the story on known facts, but it is written as a fictional account,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Anna W
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing read, beautifully realised narrative based on a true...
I had read Kate Grenville's captivating book 'The Secret River' and discovered what a superb writer she is. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Harlequin
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