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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 20 October 2011
This fast-moving novel ranges from the law courts of London and its filthy gaols to the arrival in Sydney Cove eight months later of shiploads of convicted men and women who had survived the horrors and sufferings of the long sea voyage to Australia and who, unwittingly, would help to found a new nation.

The voyage of the First Fleet to Australia has been well documented in the ships' logs, diaries, reports, autobiographies and letters of those who took part in it. The author of LEAVE THE GALLOWS HUNGRY has obviously researched their writings in depth to create a fascinating authentic account of the hazardous voyage via Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town to Botany Bay.

Historical characters are well portrayed and alongside them Stanley Wilson has cleverly and credibly interwoven the love affairs, sufferings, antagonisms and rivalries of the diverse fictional cast. An enjoyable, compelling read. I look forward to the sequel.
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on 21 July 2011
As an Australian history enthusiast I was looking forward to this read but was sorely disappointed. Whether historically accurate or not, it is terribly written with holes all over the narrative and random behaviour from all the characters. I am surprised the book ever made it to print (the editor has a lot to answer for!). The one thing I can say for it was that for all its faults I was able to stick with it to the end - maybe just out of doggedness. I hate being so negative about anything but I really wouldn't bother with this book.
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on 7 July 2012
I note the other reviews split in their view of the book - some liking and some loathing it. But I can empathise with both views. I found the range and novelty of the plot interesting and engaging. But I also found most of the characters inconsistent; often confusingly so, and I found the motivations of the charaters difficult to fathom. Several plot developments seemed excessively far fetched.
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on 29 May 2011
History is brought to life in this vivid and,I believe, accurate portrayal. Those press gangs; the terrible conditions endured, and the origins of Australia itself! This is an important book and one that should be read by everyone who likes their historical novels to have more than a grain of truth in them. Powerfully written stuff! I'm looking for more by this author.
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on 9 June 2012
Stanley WIlson's book is clearly the result of painstaking research and the product of someone who, despite all the horrors he writes about, has a genuine interest and love of all things maritime. As for the style the clever mix of dialogue and narrative drives a brisk pace.
I hope it also gets wide readership in Australia, which it richly deserves.
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on 6 April 2015
I was expecting something different. It as a kind of breathless style, and not the kind of one that I really enjoy. I guess it will have been well researched, though.
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on 14 June 2015
Good read but upsetting when you think of what they went through for next to nothing crimes,so glad I was not born in that century,we are so lucky
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on 18 December 2012
I loved the whole story, I couldn't put it down and loved the way it was written. Very good story about true loves finding each other.
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on 28 April 2015
Very repetitive. The amount of booze on board would have sunk the ship. Not very practically stored in my view.
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