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The Daughters of Mars by [Keneally, Thomas]
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The Daughters of Mars Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Length: 529 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Superbly exciting...unmissable, unforgettable. (Kate Saunders, The Times)

'A tour de force of storytelling that is both epic and intimate, experimental and traditional.' (James Kidd, Books of the Year, Independent on Sunday)

Along with a Tolstoyan ability to describe the horrors of battle, this amazing book also has an extraordinary intimacy...an altogether towering achievement. (AN Wilson, Readers Digest)

'May be the best novel of his career: a book that aims for, and achieves, real grandeur' (James Walton, Books of the Year, Spectator)

'Triumphant: this epic saga is one of the best things he has written' (Michael Prodger, Financial Times)

Over and over again, a brief but brilliant phrase turns a statistic into a real person and wrings compassion from you. (Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express)

'Superbly involving' (Catherine Taylor, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph)


"No Australian author has written more eloquently or extensively of war than Tom Keneally...Now, at last and triumphantly, there is a full-scale Keneally novel of the Great War...All of it is handled by Keneally with calm mastery. If epic is no longer a literary category that fits this world, THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS nonetheless has a tragic and humane span that few recent novels have attempted, let alone equalled." (Canberra Times)

"Keneally, for decades one of Australia's most prominent and exuberant storytellers, has a passion for history that is infectious and irresistible. His new novel tackles - on an epic scale - the role of Australian nurses in World War I...Keneally's fascination with the roles of ordinary people like these young women play in momentous events gives THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS its terrific energy and freshness." (Adelaide Advertiser)

"The huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display." (The Guardian)

"The translation into fiction of all that he uncovered is one of this novel's finest achievements. You sense a storymaker with his manuscript pegged out and in play, dotting in tiny facts, intricate details: innovations in medical practice and anaesthetics, even the different fashions worn by Australia's different state nurses. Here, he drops in the artistic philosophy of light; there, the surreality of travel to famous places; and then, the death of Joan of Arc, in five perfect paragraphs. The breadth and accretion of all this is dazzling, matched - and sometimes superseded - by the perfection of the intimate gestures and internal moments through which he vivifies his young women. What grief looks like as it works across somebody's lips; how human touch feels to someone more used to swabbing and stitching." (The Australian)

"The skill of Tom Keneally is that he writes with a large scope on matters from the Irish diaspora to convict life in Australia, the Holocaust and now World War I, but his stories are engagingly intimate." (The Daily Telegraph)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1458 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0099V1YFQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,126 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I knew quite a bit about Great War I had not appreciated the contribution of the troops and nurses from the Empire.Well written and very enlightening but could have been more concise.
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Format: Hardcover
Expectations ahead of Thomas Keneally's "The Daughters of Mars" are understandably high. He regularly features on the Booker shortlist and has won the prize in the past with "Shindler's Ark". While his subject matter, World War I, is hardly the most original, his slant on the story is, and this is a book that deserves to sit with the very best of the many books on that subject, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Birdsong" (amongst many others). It's that good and that powerful.

Keneally's approach to the story is to tell it from the point of view of two Australian sisters who volunteer for nursing duties. From a rural background both girls are getting over the death of their mother about which they may or may not have cause to feel guilt. Before the war, they are not close. Sally, the younger sister and the main focus of much of the book, stayed at home to nurse her mother while her elder sister Naomi left to work in the bright lights of the city. The death of their mother if anything forces the Durance sisters further apart but shared experiences of the horrors of war will change that.

The Australian angle adds great depth to the story as apart from the Commonwealth duties, this was a war that could so easily have been someone else's problem for the girls. The other nurses they befriend on their journey are all similarly independent minded and plucky. Keneally tells us little about them but lets their characters come through over time. At first this can be difficult to keep track of but as the book progresses, we start to care deeply about all of them for all their faults and foibles.
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Format: Paperback
I see other Reviews comment on medical practice but it is of interest to me that the old-fashioned methods for some symptoms could still be the best - & I'm not even a doctor! I don't know anything about this author whether he is Australian, American or a medic? Refreshing read as a different perspective on the Great War. I found it to be by the end an almost-true story woven into a factual background - I did wonder about the ambulances though!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not receive this book on my kindle although i was charged for it and ordered it at the same time as The Husband's Secret. Could someone trace it for me please?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thomas Keneally has created a rich tapestry of characters and events in this superb novel. I'm now reading (in the Kindle version) the final quarter, but whatever happens in this last section of the book will not change my view that this is worth every one of the 5 stars I've awarded. The characters become firmly etched in the mind as one reads this book, especially Naomi and Sally, and Keneally really captures the essence of the times, with the mores of human relationships particularly well addressed, despite the horrors surrounding the protagonists. The focus on those who are just behind the front line, dealing with the terrible results of mechanised warfare, has been a revelation but no less horrific seen through the eyes of the doctors and nurses tending the wounded and dying. The reality of Owen's '..guttering, choking, drowning..' victims of gas attacks is brought home as we hear how they had to be treated, and how many did not survive. I did struggle with his use of language at first until I realised he is writing as someone would have written contemporaneously with the events he is portraying. Truly a masterwork!
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Format: Hardcover
There has been rather a large amount of First World War fiction published in recent years, but Thomas Keneally's latest novel 'The Daughters of Mars' looks at the horrors of war from a slightly different and very interesting aspect.

Australian sisters, Naomi and Sally Durance, share little in common; Sally stays at home on the family's dairy farm with their ailing mother, while Naomi leaves the responsibility of life at home to her sister, while she goes off to work in Sydney. After the death of their mother and hiding a deep secret they are reluctantly bound to share, the girls, who are both registered nurses, decide to escape their past lives and volunteer to help in the war effort. They are both sent to Egypt and then to the Dardanelles on the hospital ship 'Archimedes' where they soon become involved with coping with the carnage at Gallipoli. After this very real taste of dealing the horrors of war, the sisters later find themselves in hospitals situated close to the Western Front where, of course, they must face yet more carnage as they nurse soldiers who have been terribly injured, not just by gunfire and explosives, but by the dreadful effects of poisonous gases. As the sisters courageously face the trauma of the terrible physical and mental injuries suffered by the men in their care, they begin to grow closer and realize that it is not too late for them to become sisters in the real sense of the word. And it is here that the girls meet two special men who they feel they could spend their future lives with - providing there will actually be a future for them at all.
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