An enjoyable introduction to Australian history,
This review is from: The Lieutenant (Paperback)
I read the Lieutenant shortly before taking a trip to Australia. It is a fictionalisation of what happened when the First Fleet arrived at, what is now, Sydney. The story itself is easy to read and doesn't get bogged down in historical facts, but just drops the odd one into the narrative as it goes along. However, I'm not sure if in this respect it is just a little too lightweight and that some more detail might have given it a bit more substance as some parts of the story just seem to pass by a little too quickly. For example, I found that Rooke's grasp of the Aboriginal language happened much too easy. Surely, learning a language so different to your own can't possibly happen as easily as that? Maybe it is that the story covers so much of Rooke's life that it has to skip over a lot of the detail that would truly show the hardship of such a task.
Apart from that, it is quite a charming tale and shows the conflicts of being a compassionate man serving in the armed forces, something that probably doesn't change throughout the ages. Once I arrived in Sydney and went to the museum, I found an exhibit about the Cadigal people that mentioned some of the people and occurances in the book, which made it more interesting.