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The Penal Colony

The Penal Colony [Kindle Edition]

Richard Herley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (763 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: 0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet


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Product Description

Product Description

The future.

The British government now runs island prison colonies to take dangerous offenders from its overcrowded mainland jails.

Among all these colonies, Sert, 25 miles off the north Cornish coast, has the worst reputation. There are no warders. Satellite technology is used to keep the convicts under watch. New arrivals are dumped by helicopter and must learn to survive as best they can. To Sert, one afternoon in July, is brought Anthony John Routledge, sentenced for a sex-murder he did not commit. Routledge knows he is here for ever. And he knows he must quickly forget the rules of civilized life. But not all the islanders are savages. Under the charismatic leadership of one man a community has evolved. A community with harsh and unyielding rules, peopled by resourceful men for whom the hopeless dream of escape may not be so hopeless after all ...

‘Normally I shun such reviewer clichés as “a real page-turner”, “leaves you breathless”, “can’t put it down”, considering them to be empty substitutes for critical thought. Well, there’s always an exception: I’ve weighed those phrases carefully, and I believe that each of them accurately applies to a new novel, The Penal Colony by Richard Herley.’

— Roger Miller, Milwaukee Journal

‘intriguing, ultimately uplifting ... this fast-moving, intelligent thriller goes into top gear.’

— Publishers’ Weekly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 529 KB
  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0688066224
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004VTHSA6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (763 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born in England in 1950 and educated at Watford Boys' Grammar School and Sussex University, where my interest in natural history led me to read biology.

My first successful novel was "The Stone Arrow", which was published to critical acclaim in 1978. It subsequently won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, administered by the Royal Society of Literature in London, and was the first in a trilogy. This was followed by "The Penal Colony" (1987), a futuristic thriller that formed the basis of the 1994 movie "No Escape", starring Ray Liotta.

The main difficulty for the author is making his voice heard in the roar of self-promotion. I believe that the work I am producing now is of higher quality than my prize-winning first, and ask you, the reader, to help spread the word by telling your friends if you have enjoyed one of my books.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
199 of 203 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Penal Colony 18 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is about a remote island on which the murderers, rapists and outcasts of Britain have been placed with nothing but a satellite to watch over them. This story is both intellectually stimulating (are we inherently savages with a veneer of civilization or the other way around?) and a heart pounding thriller in one. The criminals form themselves into two groups - the 'village' and the 'outsiders'. The village is made up of the strongest, most intelligent men who form a civilized community thriving on hard work and working together whilst the outsiders, ruled by two warring clans, despise and envy the villagers in equal measure. The book follows the battle of wits between the two as well as the lead character's personal journey of self discovery.

I thought this book was rather good. It maintains a decent pace, never slowing enough that you get bored. Interestingly, the author creates likeable characters even though they are all hardened criminals!

However, my only complaint is that I can't help but feel the ending is a little rushed and there is a bit of unfinished business. I would for instance, like to know what happened to the rest of the islanders. Overall it is definitely well worth a read if you like thrillers and want something a little different from your usual murder/spy types. I only paid 1 for this on my kindle and having read it, I would have happily paid much more!
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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 'freebies' I've had on my kindle 18 Sep 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this freebie sometime ago and it has been sitting in my 'To be Read' collection, being passed over for what I thought were better reads. I finally got round to reading it and am disappointed, not with the book I hasten to add, but with the fact that it's taken me so long to get round to reading it!

This is a really good book, well written and really draws one in and which I found very believable to the extent I searched the internet to see if Sert actually existed and whether it had at one time been a penal colony. It doesn't but Lundy another island mentioned in the book, does exist and did house convicts in 1747, during the ownership of Thomas Benson, a Member of Parliament for Barnstaple and Sheriff of Devon.

The story is about Anthony Routledge, who claims he is innocent of the crime that led to him being placed on Sert (reminiscent of Andy Dufresne / Shawshank Redemption) and how he deals with the situation he finds himself in. It also deals with how the category Z prisoners cope on the island, splitting into groups or individual 'Wild men' and how they interact with one another. As you would expect there is a lot of fighting and killing, power struggles etc..

This is another author which I wouldn't have found without the kindle and one that I will be purchasing books from in future.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Penal Colony - Well worth a read 7 July 2011
By Adam
Format:Kindle Edition
When I see books for this price on Kindle I am always wary that they might fall short of expectations. When there is no corresponding paperback I am aware that I might be purchasing some self published rubbish. In this case however I was not disappointed. I found that I was unable to put the book down. As a previous reviewer has mentioned, the fact that it is set in Britain is refreshing. For just over 1 this novel is well worth reading. I look forward to seeing more from this author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the penal colony 11 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I Enjoyed this book, well thought out, and shows a futuristic look into the penal service, and of man's survival against the odds, salvaging driftwood to build a boat in an escape attempt. Took me back to the story about Colditz or The Great Escape, but no Steve McQueen. The other great point is it is English not the USA. I will be looking for more from this author.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book for a cheap Kindle offering. 5 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Here's the thing... it's a bit like a chinese meal. Quite entertaining but then when you're finished it feels like you've missed something substantive.

*However* .. with that said... it absolutely knocks the socks off some far more price paperbacks I have read recently.

All of the elements are there... strong characterisation [1], good plot [2], and a pacy style [3]. This makes it one of the books that makes me tell people that the Kindle is a great platform.

[1] - It's hard to put my finger on it.. the characterisation is there, .. I can see where the author is trying to go, .. but it's like it's been hinted at and sketched in pencil wireframe rather than coloured in. Somehow although all the themes are there the character feels a little light and transparent.

[2] - The plot is good, although quite simple. It feels like something which could translate quite easily into a movie, (in fact feels quite similar to a movie with Ray Liotta from the 1990's)

[3] - Pacy style. The pace is sometimes inconsistent. e.g. the first few days he spends on his own are quite detailed, and then other times it seems to fly by and skip forward. It feels a little like someone watching it on TIVO and every now and again going to FF 4x.

Not sure if this is his first book, but I will definitely be buying others from him, and happily paying money after some of the atrocious drek you can pick up in airport bookshops.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 29 Sep 2011
By Laboo
Format:Kindle Edition
This was free on kindle and even though it is not my usual read, I greatly enjoyed the story. I just couldn't put my kindle down and had to find out what was happening next. As previously mentioned, I started to really like most of the convicts and started to feel sorry for them. I hope there will be a follow up to this book to find out what happened next. Highly recommended read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up
thought this would be an interesting read, how wrong I was. Gave up at 24% it was very hard going, slow story development based on average characters. Give it a miss
Published 1 day ago by Barry Franklin
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
Thoroughly enjoyed this gritty book, could not put it down. Will certainly read other titles by the same author author.
Published 2 days ago by Maxine Correy
4.0 out of 5 stars The Penal Colony
Downloaded as holiday reading for my husband who is not a big reader. He enjoyed this book very much but was very unhappy with the ending which left him wanting. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Linda Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars well written keeping you wanting to know what comes next
Having thought that we might have to resort to this type of prison in future it gives a very good insight on what could happen in future. Well worth reading.
Published 6 days ago by D. Willcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Papillon the second!!
I chose this rating because Penal Colony reminded me a lot of the novel upon which the film Papillon was based, indeed the premise is similar in many ways. Read more
Published 8 days ago by AK46
5.0 out of 5 stars Good free download
Goodness knows where the idea came from for this book but its different and I enjoyed it. If you want a gritty saga with the characters living on the edge all the time, this is it.
Published 12 days ago by Archiemarnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading
I found this to be a very good book. The idea, while maybe not 100% original was none the less, entertaining. I would recommend.
Published 13 days ago by L. legg
3.0 out of 5 stars OK...if you like that sort of thing
The story line was a bit wishy washy and not much substance. I could see how it would translate into a drama film for TV though.
Published 21 days ago by Fred The Dred
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I hadn't idea what the book was about really when I downloaded it. It just seemed like something a bit different and it was. I loved it! I just wanted to keep reading.
Published 1 month ago by jimnychris
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but un-fulfilling
I enjoyed this book, due to some of the graphic content it's not what you would consider an easy read, despite this I found myself wanting to continue to the end and became very... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nadine Blackwell
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He saw now that there were no such things as ends, only means: for ends were phantoms that melted away when approached, only to reform into other ends further off. &quote;
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Man had created God in his own image, not the other way around. He had done it through sheer terror, and who could blame him? Unfortunately he had made too good a job. The god he had invented was just as cruel and careless as man himself. Not a deity to whom one should seriously address a prayer. &quote;
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