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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2011
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once in I was gripped. The story doesn't really get going until Rufus is on the prison ship. To me this is a story of the human spirit and how it can survive in the most desparate of situations. Rufus, is a wronged man and is constantly being crushed but he still manages to retain something of himself throughout. Also the writer must have done a tremendous amount of research, because the descriptions of the penal system in Australia make you feel like you're there, the heat, the dirt, everything.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2011
HAVE READ THIS BOOK A FEW TIMES OVER A NUMBER OF YEARS. HAVING AN INTEREST IN THE HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ ON THE SUBJECT. ALTHOUGH FICTIONAL I AM SURE IT COULD BE BASED ON FACT. I WOULD RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WHO ENJOYS A REALLY GOOD READ. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT, AND MAY GO BACK TO THE BOOK MANY TIMES AS I HAVE DONE.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2011
beware the free version. It's the only kindle file I've downloaded (out of over 100) that has been corrupted. When I opened it, my kindle froze and had to be reset. The Halcyon 70p version is fine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2010
Book ordered and arrived in good condition within the estimated delivery time.
Excellent book, very informative about the early settlers and their lives in the South of Tasmania.
The theme of the book is of the many thousands of convicts sent out from the U.K. to settle and work this new land and territory and in particular of one innocent man's story who found himself in this situation which he could not escape from. The mistreatment of these men, women and children and the lack of understanding and non-existance of human needs and human rights at that time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2013
I have read the hard copy of this bought while travelling, and was a great read. Loaned it... never to be seen again :( (not the first book that;s happened with!)... but thought I'd re-read on Kindle.

However, like another reviewer, seems corrupt. I went to re-open the book and it froze on the page I was reading, back, fwd, home, keyboard... all buttons had no effect. Pressed and held the power key and the light blinked 3 or 4 times. Blank screen. Pressed and held the power again, 3 more blinks, and it came to life and 'seems' to be OK for now...
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on 9 June 2013
I read this years ago and was very pleased to find a kindle version as my old paperback disintegrated! Of the novel, I will say the story has lost none of it's power to draw me in and keep me reading. There are passages of descriptive prose that are just breathtaking. Yes, some of the plot devices are a little clunky but this is a nineteenth century novel; what do you expect? The human stories and depiction of the harsh realities of convict life make compulsive reading. It's a long novel but the tension is conveyed so well that at times I felt like I was racing through it. Also pleased to report that the kindle version doesn't seem to have any glaring typos or spelling mistakes and is well laid out. Would recommend to anyone who wants an e-version and anyone who hasn't read it yet. Should be in everyone's library whatever the format.
Update Oct 2014 - the kindle version I downloaded does not appear to be available anymore and the currently available free kindle versions have really bad reviews. My copy is good. If you are thinking of purchasing but are concerned about the formatting, do persevere and find a good e- version, even if it means paying a few quid. There is more than one version available and I personally, think it's such a great read, it worth paying for and should be much more widely read. Sort it out Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2013
I first read this many years ago and was delighted to rediscover it. Apparently an Australian classic about an innocent man transported to Australia it is a really fascinating read as well as being a really good adventure story.
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I was recommended to read this book by a respected poet to give me insight into the conditions of the convicts and all it's horrors to aid my own writings. I was mortified by their conditions and the surviving offspring must be made of strong stuff if not wily creatures. The book is indeed a marathon and you will gain strength if you can see it through till the end - good luck!
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on 12 February 2013
The story running through this book keeps the reader involved in unpleasant historical realities, the strength and shocking frailtiy of human nature, the diffrences of cultures and the haunting beauty of Australia.
It is skilfully written and impeccably researched. The author manages to hold the attention of the reader effortlessly.
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on 3 December 2012
I read this while travelling in Tasmania and really got into the mood of the place. It really made the story come alive being able to visit Port Arthur. Excellent read but very sad.
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